April 27, 2011

Will the Sun Take Down the Electric Grid?

Building on our Smart Grid Cyber Security Week, I'd like to take you back in time a few months. For our "Final Frontier Week" on space issues & natural security, I posed the questSunion that EMP geeks, sci-fi nerds and many security officials have been asking for decades but with increased frequency in the past few months: can/will the sun take out the grid? As I wrote:

Many are warning
that we’ll see a
major increase in electric system vulnerability to space weather

events over
the next few years as the sun enters a new solar maximum period. So I’ve
through my archive of research on this topic to provide you with some
resources to look to as the media follows these events, especially as
pertain to energy.

It's not cyber security-related exactly, but solar activity has affected electric grid reliability in the past. Policymakers should consider this history in determining the scale of risks and responses. Read our full post from February here. It's possible that it contains a Douglas Adams reference...sometimes I can't help myself.