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Project Title:

Enhancing the Robustness and Resilience of Future Electric Transmission and Distribution in the United States to Terrorist Attack
PIN: BEES-J-04-03-A        

Major Unit:

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Sub Unit: Board on Energy & Environmental Systems DEPS

RSO: Crane, Alan

Subject/Focus Area: Engineering and Technology; Policy for Science and Technology

Project Scope
The National Academies' National Research Council (NRC) will establish a
committee of about 18 individuals. The committee will consider approaches to
reducing the vulnerability, enhancing the robustness, and improving the
resilience and ability to recover of future electrical transmission and
distribution (T&D) in the United States to potential terrorist attacks. The
committee will use as a starting point the three recent reports addressing
electric T&D in the nation, namely, the National Academies' report, "Making the
Nation Safer: The Role of Science & Technology in Countering Terrorism;" the
DOE report, "Grid 2030, A National Vision for Electricity Second 100 Years,"
and the EPRI report, "Electricity Sector Framework for the Future." The study
will address technical, policy, and institutional factors that may affect the
evolution of electrical T&D in the United States in the midterm (e.g., 3 to 10
years) and the long term (10 to 25 years). The committee will identify priority
technology opportunities, R&D directions, policy and institutional actions, and
strategies that will lead to more secure electrical T&D in the face of an
uncertain future. The committee will write a report documenting its findings
and recommendations. In particular, the committee will likely include the
following in its activities:

(1) Examine the current status of electricity transmission and
distribution (T&D) in the United States with the aim of identifying significant
technological opportunities that can reduce vulnerability or enhance robustness
to potential terrorist attack. The committee can draw on various recent studies
(noted above) by DOE, EPRI, and the National Academies on electricity T&D in
the United States, but also on other perspectives that may arrive at different
conclusions than these studies.
(2) As part of its data-gathering activities, and in order to elicit a
wide array of perspectives on how electric T&D and supply in the United States
may evolve, and the different approaches to reducing the impact of potential
terrorist attacks, the committee will invite presentations from electric power
industry groups, federal and state representatives, non-profit groups, consumer
groups, small companies, and others. The committee will review the various
perspectives vis-a-vis the vision that has been laid out in the DOE and EPRI
studies, noted above, at least as one point of reference. The committee will
likely organize itself into working subgroups to entertain these presentations
and promote discussion on selected issues, such as technology, policies, and
institutional issues. The committee may also include a workshop(s) as part of
its early data-gathering activities to help the committee focus on the priority
issues and questions that need to be answered for its study.
(3) Given that the future evolution of electric T&D in the United States
is uncertain, the committee may develop a range of scenarios, considering
factors affecting future requirements for the nation's T&D infrastructure
including the need for new capacity, replacement needs, siting issues,
vulnerability to terrorism, and the effects of interconnectedness among
regional networks.
(4) The committee will analyze the likely implications for the
vulnerability, robustness, and recovery and resilience of electrical T&D to
potential terrorist attacks in the midterm (3 to 10 years) as well as the long
term (10-25 years) with an eye on science and technology investment.
(5) Analyze how existing and emerging technological options could
improve the reliability, security, robustness and the ability to recover from
disruptions to the electrical T&D system, or systems, and prioritize technical
opportunities and R&D needs;
(6) Recommend strategies for implementing the transition from the
current situation to a future system that is less vulnerable to disruption from
terrorist attack, considering primarily technical barriers.;
(8) Write a final report documenting its findings and recommendations.

Sponsor: Dept. of Homeland Security

Approximate Starting Date: April 10, 2005

The National Research Council will issue a final report approximately 15-18
months from the time funds are received to initiate the study.

NOTE: The project duration has been extended and a report is expected to be issued in summer 2007.

Project Duration: 21 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 08/15/2005
 Meeting 2 - 11/29/2005
 Meeting 3 - 02/02/2006
 Meeting 4 - 04/20/2006
 Meeting 5 - 07/24/2006
 Meeting 6 - 10/01/2006
 Meeting 7 - 11/29/2006
 Meeting 8 - 01/19/2007
 Meeting 9 - 03/06/2007


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System