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The electric grid is a complex, interdependent, and critical system that drives the U.S. economy. Interruptions to energy delivery threaten not just our economic stability, but societal safety and well-being. The power grid faces many risks, including physical threats such as natural disasters and terrorism. While technological advances are playing an important role in improving reliability and efficiency, challenges remain in securing the electric grid from physical attacks. Physical attacks to substations, damage from extreme weather, and concerns about electromagnetic pulses have prompted discussions regarding the vulnerabilities to the power grid. Commissioner Tony Clark of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) discusses some of the risks to the nation’s electric grid and the steps FERC and the electric utility industry have taken to secure the grid against potential threats.
At the 2014 NCSL Legislative Summit, Commissioner Tony Clark spoke to members of the Natural Resources and Infrastructure (NRI) Committee about potential vulnerabilities to the U.S. electric grid. The NRI Committee covers state-federal legislation, regulations, policies and programs related to energy and electric utilities, transportation infrastructure and safety, and agriculture and rural development.