Showing 51 posts tagged energy
Several power utilities say they face a barrage of cyber attacks on their critical systems, a report by two Democratic lawmakers found echoing warnings from the Obama administration that foreign hackers were trying to bring down the U.S. power grid.
California Representative Henry Waxman released the report, co-authored with Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey, at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s cybersecurity hearing on Tuesday.
The pair asked some 160 utilities to describe their experiences fighting cyber attacks over the past five years. In response, more than a dozen said they experienced daily, constant or frequent attempted cyber attacks, according to a 35-page report summarizing their responses.
» via Yahoo! News
Critical control systems inside two US power generation facilities were found infected with computer malware, according to the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team.
Both infections were spread by USB drives that were plugged into critical systems used to control power generation equipment, according to the organization’s newsletter for October, November, and December of 2012. The authors didn’t identify the owners of the facilities and there’s no indication the infections resulted in injuries or equipment failures.
» via ars technica
A large tanker carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) is set to become the first ship of its type to sail across the Arctic.
The carrier, Ob River, left Norway in November and has sailed north of Russia on its way to Japan.
The specially equipped tanker is due to arrive in early December and will shave 20 days off the regular journey.
The owners say that changing climate conditions and a volatile gas market make the Arctic transit profitable.
» via BBC
Terrorists could black out large segments of the United States for weeks or months by attacking the power grid and damaging hard-to-replace components that are crucial to making it work, the National Academy of Sciences said in a report released Wednesday.
By blowing up substations or transmission lines with explosives or by firing projectiles at them from a distance, the report said, terrorists could cause cascading failures and damage parts that would take months to repair or replace. In the meantime, it warned, people could die from the cold or the excessive heat, and the economy could suffer hundreds of billions of dollars in damage.
While the report is the most authoritative yet on the subject, the grid’s vulnerability has long been obvious to independent engineers and to the electric industry itself, which has intermittently tried, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, to rehearse responses.
» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)
Supersized data centers built in the Northwest of the U.S. could consume 10 percent of the region’s power by 2030, if the data center infrastructure isn’t made more efficient, according to an article in The Oregonian. Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon have all built, or are building, huge data centers in the area, looking to take advantage of the cheap power and local tax incentives.
So called data center clusters arise for a variety of reasons — beyond the Northwest, there’s a cluster in North Carolina and Northern Virginia, among other places. Facebook and Microsoft have told us they have about 50 criteria for selecting certain locations, including low cost and reliable power, aggressive tax incentives, the need for rural areas, the need for available water, a desire for fast deployment, and even the lemming effect (data center operators feel more comfortable going to where the others are).
zgig» via GigaOM
Two companies, Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive, have managed to keep the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System, also known as a drone, in flight for over 48 hours by using lasers on the ground to recharge the aircraft’s battery mid-flight. So … that’s terrifying and cool. LaserMotive held the test in an enclosed wind tunnel, and if you’re wondering what happened after 48 hours, well, it seems they just got bored.
» via Yahoo! News
That coffee you’re drinking while gazing at your iPad? It cost more than all the electricity needed to run those games, emails, videos and news stories for a year.
The annual cost to charge an iPad is just $1.36, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit research and development group funded by electric utilities.
By comparison, a 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb costs $1.61, a desktop PC adds up to $28.21 and a refrigerator runs you $65.72.
» via Yahoo! News
Leaving home while carrying a phone, an iPad and a laptop might also mean lugging along several tangled power cords. Now add radios and GPS devices. Now strap them to your person and wrap the cords around your body beneath your 30-pound armored vest. Oh, and you’re on patrol in Afghanistan, which means there’s no place to plug in when your phone’s batteries start to die. This explains why the Pentagon is keen on eliminating those cables with wireless chargers, and now wants to boost the range to more than 50 feet.
The plan involves spending $5-6 million using the branch’s research and development centers to “increase the efficiency of power transfer over longer distances,” according to an Army statement. If successful, it means that soldiers — instead of being limited to recharging their gadgets when returning to base, or by plugging into their vehicles — could go cordless. That means recharging by a wireless battery attached to their body — no plugs. The Army also hopes to build wireless transmitters on bases, allowing soldier gear to recharge passively, without having to plug anything in. And one day, it might be used on drones.
» via Wired
A major cyber attack is currently under way aimed squarely at computer networks belonging to US natural gas pipeline companies, according to alerts issued to the industry by the US Department of Homeland Security.
At least three confidential “amber” alerts – the second most sensitive next to “red” – were issued by DHS beginning March 29, all warning of a “gas pipeline sector cyber intrusion campaign” against multiple pipeline companies. But the wave of cyber attacks, which apparently began four months ago – and may also affect Canadian natural gas pipeline companies – is continuing.
» via MSNBC
A proposed high voltage electrical cable running across the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean to tap Iceland’s surplus volcanic geothermal energy would become the world’s longest underwater electrical cable, if it goes ahead. The cable would be a significant step towards a pan-European super grid, which may one day tap renewable sources as far afield as Scandinavia, North Africa and the Middle East. It’s argued that such a grid would be able to widely transmit energy surpluses from active renewable sources, thereby alleviating the need for countries to use (or build) back-up fossil fuel power stations to cater for peaks in demand when more local renewable sources aren’t particularly productive.
If a European super grid comes to fruition, energy surpluses will be big business. So it’s hardly surprising that both Germany and the United Kingdom are jostling for position at the other end of the Icelandic cable, with Norway and the Netherlands also having been mooted as potential connectees. That would necessitate a cable at least 745 miles (1198 km) in length, making it easily the longest electrical cable in the world.
» via ars technica