Wednesday, March 05, 2014

US ill-prepared for physical attack on major transformers in electric grid, according to new WSJ story

Rebecca Smith has a front page story Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in the Wall Street Journal, documenting how difficult replacing a large transformer is for a utility if it is heavily damaged by terrorism or deliberate vandalism.   The link for the story is here.
Transformers are custom built for individual sites, and there are only a few manufacturing companie sin the United States.  There is only one US company that can build the very largest Mitsubishi transformers, in Memphis.  In Virginia, there are companies in Roanoke (Virginia Transformer, July 17 here) and Lynchburg (Delta Star) (link)  also in San Carlos, CA). 
This time I’ll also give the embed link for the video. “U.S. Electric Grid Ill-Prepared to Handle an Attack”.

This is important.  We would be a lot safer if we could manufacture our big transformers in the Shenandoah Valley or on the North Carolina Piedmont than in India.  

Below (Wikipedia attribution link) is downtown Lynchburg (my last visit was in 2005) from a viewpoint near the company discussed in the article. 

Wikipedia's diagram of the components of the power grid follows.

Update: May 3

A typical rural electric station with smaller transformers. But it's the larger ones that are of concern for Homeland Security.

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