ABB has launched a comprehensive new initiative built around addressing rising physical security and grid resiliency concerns for critical substations and power transformers.
The ABB “Substation Physical Security and Resiliency Initiative” will support electrical utilities and address U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) concerns around physical security for the power grid’s most critical transmission and distribution substations and transformers.
The U.S. is more dependent than ever on reliable electric power for residential, commercial and industrial use as well as strategic security. Today, fewer than three percent of the nation’s transformers in U.S. substations are high voltage power transformers, but they carry 60-70 percent of the nation’s electricity.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) recently-issued CIP-014-1 (Critical Infrastructure Protection), which requires transmission owners to assess the vulnerability of critical substations and development and implement security plans. The implementation schedule for this order starts in October, 2015 and requires completion by August, 2016.
Every utility’s approach to physical security and resiliency will be necessarily unique, but this initiative covers five strategic elements that all utilities should consider when developing their own plans:
- Assessment – Onsite vulnerability assessment determines both the criticality of the substation to overall grid reliability and the vulnerability of the substation to physical attack. Risk is assessed for extreme weather events, intentional criminal attacks, geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) and electromagnetic pulses (EMP).
- Hardening – Design modifications can be made to “harden” the substation and its transformers against malevolent attack and extreme environmental elements – modifications including shielding, component selection and cooling considerations.
- Monitoring – Constant monitoring made for critical parameters and conditions with secure communications and implementation of automated protection algorithms.
- Rapid Repair – ABB can deploy rapid repair teams – developing operating plans including parts availability and personnel logistics to quickly repair light damage to substations.
- Rapid Replacement – ABB can replace severely damaged transformers by supplying proven rapid replacement transformers – developing designs for spare transformers that allow rapid shipment and installation while implementing plans to ensure availability of these units.
“The DOE and NERC have raised valid concerns about physical security and have issued orders mandating that electric utilities must identify and protect critical substations within their systems,” said Emily Heitman, Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Operations for Power Transformers in North America. “ABB’s capabilities can play a crucial role in both preventing an attack and quickly restoring the power grid after a disaster.”