Hardening the New Electrical Grid Will Require Mobilized Security

At a recent EEI conference, Elon Musk noted that due to the transition from gas-powered items to electric ones, the grid will need to deliver three times its current energy output. Given this expected expansion, it's crucial to implement a mobile security strategy to ensure the grid's protection.
Elon Musk

Electrification is upon us. From cars to lawn equipment, to home heat and cooking, in the coming years electric versions of the products in these fields will become dominant. Look no farther than the TV set and you see the importance of electrification – most car commercials today promote electric-based vehicles, not fossil fuel-based ones.

Electrification is still in its early days – you occasionally see electric lawn equipment or vehicles on the road. But the world is full of people who have sworn they have bought their last gas mower or car, vowing that the next one will be electric. This is one of the reasons that electrification will happen gradually, not overnight, but utilities are already planning for expansion.

At EEI, Musk Says the Grid Must Triple

According to Elon Musk, Tesla’s co-founder, the full transition to electric cars will take 20 years, but it is underway. As other products follow, the current electric capacity is drastically low for a fully electrified society. So where will electricity come from when this happens? The answer lies mostly in a massive expansion of the electric grid.

During a keynote at the recent Edison Electric Institute’s EEI 2023 conference in Austin, Texas, Musk said that the electric grid will ultimately need to deliver three times the energy it currently does. Meeting this demand will require significant construction of new capacity. 

When building new capacity, electric companies can take into account modern challenges and threats. This not only includes the incorporation of “green” energy sources, but also hardening measures that will make the grid more resilient against both natural and man-made threats. The latter includes both cyberthreats and physical security threats. 

While cybersecurity grabs most of the headlines due to the prospect of the entire grid being taken down, electric utilities live with smaller physical security threats every day – but they add up into big problems. They can range from petty thieves stealing wire, pipes and other equipment for precious metals, to tool theft, fuel and, yes, batteries. 

The Need for Mobile Security

Providing physical security around a main office is relatively trivial – a remote video monitoring solution paired with traditional locks, guards and so forth gets the job done. But electrical grids are inherently distributed, so securing substations, laydown yards and construction sites can be more challenging than a fixed structure. Currently many of these dispersed facilities are not secured well, which is why physical security is such a problem for the current grid and can interrupt service. And with the constant construction taking place to expand the grid, mobile security that can travel to different sites becomes very important. 

Pro-Vigil is one of the few companies that can provide both fixed and mobile security for electric grid customers. Both types of installations are monitored by a team of virtual guards who use artificial intelligence to identify suspicious activity and take appropriate action. This can include audio and visual deterrents – like flashing lights and sirens – to scare off would-be thieves. Virtual security guards can even contact local authorities when their own countermeasures aren’t enough. This ability to stop crime “in the moment” is superior to traditional camera systems, and for electrical companies this means they can not only save money by deterring theft but also keep grids up and running. This is what it means to “harden” the grid.

Also, mobile units can be repositioned if needs change. For example, if a laydown yard needs to change locations, the mobile units can move with the yard. Also, for construction sites, mobile units can be set up in minutes to deter crime. And, for unattended substations, active video surveillance provides superior security to traditional “after the fact” video cameras.

Pro-Vigil video surveillance stops crime to harden electric grids and make them more resilient. For more information, contact Pro-Vigil.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Security | Surveillance | Management | Compliance | Inspection
© 2020 Pro-Vigil. All Rights Reserved.