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The Top 10 Utility Tech Challenges

Innovation must play a key role in each company.

Fortnightly Magazine - August 2006

to security threats is a multi-faceted problem. Both physical security and information security threats must be considered. Threats from many directions—from international terrorists to disgruntled employees—must be addressed. Adding to the complexity is the fact that most aspects of the power system were not developed with security threats in mind. This means that an entire critical infrastructure, valued at hundreds of billions of dollars and crucial to the proper functioning of all industries, is vulnerable to a broad range of attacks from many directions.

Institutional and policy issues will play a major role in finding solutions in this area. Yet the role of technological innovation is particularly acute here, especially on the cyber side of the threat, addressing the diverse areas of vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, and intrusion detection and prevention, among others.

Figure 3 illustrates the extent to which innovation is needed in the collective impact of the challenges discussed here. It reduces the attributes of innovation to cost, value, performance, and the degree to which they have a multiplying effect or synergy with the overall performance of the power system.

 

Endnotes:

1. EPRI, “IntelliGrid, Consumer Portal Stakeholder FAQ and Survey,” 2005.

2. “Efficient Use and Conservation of Energy in Encyclopedia of Energy Sciences, Engineering and Technology Resources,” Clark W. Gellings editor and coauthor, in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the auspices of the UNESCO, EOLSS Publishers, Oxford, UK, [ http://www.eolss.net], 2004.

3. U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, “Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative,” fact sheet, February 2005, http://gen-iv.ne.doe.gov/documents/geni.pdf.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. EPRI, “Coal-Based Generation at the Crossroads,” Taylor Moore, EPRI Journal, Summer 2005.

7. Ibid.

8. EPRI, “Mercury Control for Coal-Fired Power Plants,” Paul Haase, EPRI Journal, Summer 2005.

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