Today’s power systems face a growing number of potential risks varying in scope and complexity. SEL understands the facts behind each of these potential risk areas. We have years of experience developing the most effective protection and control strategies. In addition, we constantly look for ways to ensure our products and solutions stay ahead of the threat environment.
The following pages explain the various power system risks and provide mitigation strategies to maintain power grid protection and resilience.
GPS is a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) operated by the U.S. Department of Defense. This system enables receivers to compute their location, velocity, and time for a variety of applications. Power utility applications use precise and accurate time derived from the GPS-synchronized clocks along with other sources for time synchronization of devices in the power system.
An EMP, also known as a transient electromagnetic disturbance, creates a burst of electromagnetic energy that spreads over a range of frequencies and can damage or disrupt the function of electronic equipment. EMPs can result in strong electric and magnetic fields, causing voltages and currents to be induced on conductors.
Geomagnetically induced current (GIC) and geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) events are caused by solar flares ejected from the surface of the sun. The ionized atoms of these supersonic plasma streams interact with charged particles in the earth’s atmosphere and induce changes in the earth’s magnetic field. By Faraday’s law, a changing magnetic field induces an electric field that is modulated by the conductance of the earth. It is this field that drives power system GIC.
Modern utility systems and industrial plants rely on communications and computing technology to run and operate automation and control processes. Along with the benefits of these technologies comes some risk of cyber attacks. There are legitimate concerns about how inadequate information security (cybersecurity) is affecting electric power systems and other critical infrastructure.
Cybersecurity isn’t something that can be achieved by one person, product, or technology. Real system-wide protection starts with the understanding that it takes a company-wide security culture and teamwork to achieve success. SEL believes that combining layered security protections with the efforts of protection engineers, information technology (IT) personnel, and compliance managers leads to a secure and compliant solution.