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Electric grid

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Definition Edit

The electric grid (also called the electrical grid and power grid)

consists of all the power plants generating electricity, together with the transmission and distribution lines and their associated transformers and substations which bring power to end-use customers.[1]

Overview Edit

"[T]his generally requires an infrastructure made up of generating stations (where the power is produced), step-up transformers and transmission lines (whereby transformers increase the voltage so that the electricity can be sent over very long distances), and step-down transformers and distribution lines (whereby the voltage can be lowered allowing the electricity to be sent to businesses and homes to power machinery and devices). Depending on the regulatory regime in place, these system elements may be controlled by companies under state jurisdiction or entities under federal jurisdiction (such as regional transmission organizations or federal power marketing administrations)."[2]

The electricity delivery network functions via two primary systems: the transmission system and the distribution system. The transmission system delivers electricity from power plants to distribution substations, while the distribution system delivers electricity from distribution substations to consumers. The grid also encompasses myriad local area networks that use distributed energy resources to serve local loads and/or to meet specific application requirements for remote power, village or district power, premium power, and critical loads protection.

“Power flows on the nation's electricity grid are remotely controlled by a combination of older, legacy systems and newer control technologies. Many of these legacy technologies are analog in design and were not originally connected to the Internet (although many are equipped with radio or other [[communications] capabilities). But as the grid is modernized, the new "intelligent" technologies replacing them use advanced two-way communications and other digital advantages that likely will be optimized by Internet connectivity. While these advances will improve the efficiency and performance of the grid, they also potentially increase the vulnerability of the grid to cyberattacks."[3]

References Edit

  1. The Smart Grid and Cybersecurity: Regulatory Policy and Issues, at 1.
  2. Cybersecurity Issues for the Bulk Power System, at 2.
  3. Cybersecurity Issues for the Bulk Power System, at 1.

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