Tags: Licata | infrastructure | cyber | security

Energy Pro Licata: US Infrastructure Faces Major Cyber-Security Threat

By    |   Sunday, 25 August 2013 12:04 PM

Cyber-security issues represent a substantial risk for the nation's energy grid, says John Licata, founder and chief energy strategist of Blue Phoenix Inc., an energy research firm.

"[Former Defense Secretary] Leon Panetta and [Homeland Security Secretary] Janet Napolitano talked about the potential for a cyber Pearl Harbor, a cyber 9/11 here in the U.S.," he told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

"As the grid starts to modernize and we start storing more information in the cloud and using more technology to control systems that we are putting it into place, cyber hacking can certainly advance."

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Vulnerabilities have to be found before the systems are exposed, says Licata, author of "Lessons from Frankenstorm: Investing for Future Power Disruptions."

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In recent months, hackers infiltrated Wall Street banks and the Energy Department, he says. And just last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's own Facebook page was hacked.

"So we can see technology is both a blessing and a curse," Licata said. "The cyber-security  argument is one that doesn't get a lot of attention when it comes to securing power plants and water supplies."

We need to look at water not only in terms of infrastructure protection but also from the perspective that "we need to advance energy without reliance on water," Licata said.

During Superstorm Sandy last year many people had trouble getting water. And that wasn't just for drinking it and bathing in it, he says.

"Most people don’t recognize that to frack natural gas, millions of gallons of water are used, and hundreds of thousands of gallons are used to cool down power plants and to produce biofuels."

As for energy storage, it's "the Holy Grail when it comes to the future of energy," Licata said. "When it comes to solar power and offshore wind, we have to look at 24/7 base load power sources."

Microgrids in remote areas could be sustainable off the main grid, he says.

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"Those microgrids need to be self-sufficient so that when the grid goes down, they actually could still maintain their power structure, and that's something that storage solutions are starting to allow to happen."

In terms of our energy future, it's going to include both fossil fuels and alternative energy, Licata says. "I don't think that we're going to leave behind cruel oil. Crude oil's certainly going to be part of our energy future for decades and decades to come."

And then there's natural gas. "You have to have natural gas as part of the argument," Licatasaid. "Natural gas will play a bigger role when we start looking at transportation, primarily with fleets. There's a lot of potential there."

At this point, we don't produce any energy from offshore wind, Licata says. But estimates show we could get 4,000 gigawatts from that source. "So it goes back to the energy storage solutions," he said.

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Cyber-security issues represent a substantial risk for the nation's energy grid, says John Licata, founder and chief energy strategist of Blue Phoenix Inc., an energy research firm.
Licata,infrastructure,cyber,security
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2013-04-25
Sunday, 25 August 2013 12:04 PM
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