US Military Needs Solar Power to Keep Ops Running if Grid Collapses - Expert

in usa •  last year

 Shifting the US military’s reliance on electricity from the civilian  electric grid to sunlight-fueled micro-electricity generators could be  the key to mitigating damage from an electric grid failure the US  Department of Energy claims is imminent, according to Michigan  Technological University professor Joshua M. Pearce.Writing in a  September 24 article published by Defense One, Pearce contends that new  ways of supplying energy to the US armed forces should be a priority of  the national security community. The Department of Energy "has begged  for new authority to defend against weaknesses in the grid in a nearly  500-page comprehensive study issued in January 2017 warning that it’s  only a matter of time before the grid fails, due to disaster or attack,"  Pearce reported.Pearce and two other researchers have a  solution: a new study published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy  Reviews states "solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are an ideal distributed  generation technology to provide power for such microgrids" that the  technical community has recommended to curb risk. According to the  study, "17 [gigawatts] of PV would be needed to for the US military  domestically."The remotely piloted aircraft operations in Yemen,  Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and other theaters are  underpinned by operators sitting at a desk in the US – a desk depending  on a functioning electric grid. Pearce’s concern consists of how  vulnerabilities to the electric grid translate into vulnerabilities in  the integrity of US security operations themselves.The  engineering professor maintains a threefold threat arises from the US  military’s exposure to civilian power sources. The first threat to wipe  out major electricity hubs could come from nature itself, the professor  says. With tropical storms, hurricanes and other devastating natural  events appearing at a higher clip, this point could hardly be more  obvious.The second threat arises from conventional means, such as  bombing or sabotage as part of a potential domestic terrorist plot.  Pearce cites how just 100.30-caliber rifle rounds fired at electricity  transformers in 2013 caused 17 of the devices to become too hot and lose  functionality in the so-called “Metcalf sniper attack.” Repairs wound  up costing approximately $100 million, the Wall Street Journal reported,  and the units were inoperable for almost four weeks. Lastly, the  author notes how cyberattacks could jeopardize the sustained  functioning of the US electric grid. A 2015 report produced by the  University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies and insurance company  Lloyd’s of London found a major cyber-intrusion against the US grid  could produce $243 billion to $1 trillion in economic losses.  

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