A new Homeland Security report calls for creation of microgrid-driven community enclaves as part of a larger safety strategy should the United States experience a catastrophic power failure.
Issued by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), which reports to Homeland Security, the report looked at the nation’s readiness to withstand a massive power outage from a cyberattack or other disaster beyond a typical hurricane.
“Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage” finds the nation outmatched by an outage lasting weeks or months. Such an event could cause a “cascading loss of critical services,” jeopardizing drinking water, transportation, communications, fuel, healthcare and other critical functions of society.
With critical infrastructure disabled it would be difficult to re-energize the grid, the report said.
“The scale of the event — stretching across states and regions, affecting tens of millions of people — would exceed and exhaust mutual aid resources and capabilities,” NIAC warned.
NIAC recommended that government support community enclave demonstration projects to show utilities and communities “effective approaches to design, manage, operate, and fund microgrid and energy resilience capabilities.”