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How to short-circuit the US power grid

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posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:33 AM

Wang and colleagues at Dalian University of Technology in the Chinese province of Liaoning modelled the US's west-coast grid using publicly available data on how it, and its subnetworks, are connected (Safety Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2009.02.002).

To find out if this is indeed the case, the team analysed both the power loading and the number of connections of each grid subnetwork to establish the order in which they would trip out in the event of a major failure. To their surprise, under particular loading conditions, taking out a lightly loaded subnetwork first caused more of the grid to trip out than starting with a highly loaded one.

"An attack on the nodes with the lowest loads can be a more effective way to destroy the electrical power grid of the western US due to cascading failures," Wang says. To minimise the risk, he says, the grid's operators should defend the west coast sections by adjusting their power capacity to ensure these specific conditions do not arise.

This needs to be protected against, as soon as reasonably possible. The effects of the power grid going out could have disastrous economic effects, not to mention looting and possible deaths. Furthermore is such an attack would likely be used on conjunction with a conflict overseas, this has the potential to significantly tie up the U.S military, or prevent it from adequately assisting with either.

[edit on 12/9/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:42 AM
A typical example of what would occur in any country to any grid, if there is a sudden loss of load. The surge would take out the entire grid in hours if not detected on time. IEEE is working on the smart grid initiative and I am sure that future smart grids would detect any threats and take immediate actions.

Resist attack

Smart grid technologies better identify and respond to man-made or natural disruptions. Real-time information enables grid operators to isolate affected areas and redirect power flows around damaged facilities.

One of the most important issues of resist attack is the smart monitoring of power grids, which is the basis of control and management of smart grids to avoid or mitigate the system-wide disruptions like blackouts. The traditional monitoring is based on weighted least square (WLS) which is very weak and prone to fail when gross errors (including topology errors, measurement errors or parameter errors) are present. New technology of state monitor is needed to achieve the goals of the smart grids.

Smart Grid

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 02:58 AM
I would like to thank our friends in China for modeling and discovering this problem. I am surprised, maybe appalled, that we have not found this with our engineers.

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 04:05 AM
reply to post by Jim Scott

I agree with you. and would like to add to this idea. it is fight club-esque.
it is the essence of testing out a weakness. and failing to find one's own weakness is painful. thank you , china. for making us aware.

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 04:19 AM
The way to make China go away permanently as a world power. Mass first strike nukings. Wow. Took me 3 seconds of study to figure that one out.

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 05:27 AM

Originally posted by Zenagain
The way to make China go away permanently as a world power. Mass first strike nukings. Wow. Took me 3 seconds of study to figure that one out.

Better yet would be to detonate 6 to 8 nukes about 50 miles over China.

the EMP pulse would Take there power grid out plus every electronic idem in China.

They would find out what its like to live without any computers, radios. TVs ect.
But there would be little to no damage on the ground except for a few planes falling out of the sky.

It would also take care of the trade with China.

[edit on 12-9-2009 by ANNED]

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 05:31 AM
We can't do that, as I pointed out to my son yesterday, they provide like a third of our electronics.

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 05:56 AM
I don't see why China is such a bad thing. They supply much of our electronics because they can do it cheaper than almost all other places can. We need to make ourselves more competitive - maybe with cheap electricity instead of this "small is good", green crap.

posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 06:52 AM
reply to post by peacejet

The 'smart grid' is a reality in many places these days and the basic idea is to constantly monitor the entire system to ensure that any credible contingency event will not result in overloading, under/over voltage, excessive frequency swings etc on any adjacent circuits. What's considered a credible event varies greatly with weather conditions, plant outages, system demand etc and the necessary generation pattern required to maintain stable operation must be determined and dispatched from a centralised location.

Of course the system can get 'smarter' over time as previously unperceived weaknesses are identified and constraint sets are modified to cater for them. I suspect the specific weakness identified in the OP has already been accounted for as that's how the smart grid evolves by learning from past mistakes. Trouble is many mistakes need to be made first in order to build up a knowledge base of possible problems and the best way to mitigate them.

posted on Aug, 15 2010 @ 07:28 AM
china whats you to have a better electrical grid,
so you can use more of the electrical items they keep sending us!

posted on Aug, 15 2010 @ 09:01 AM
Smells like Enron got to profiteer on the old grid. With a smart grid in place its harder to manipulate the market price for electricity since the system would be well aware of itself.

Crafty play.

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