Testimony from electric industry lobbyists on securing Texas’s electrical grid

Testimony from Walter Bartel of Center Point Energy: Bartel describes risk based strategies, down plays solar weather risks, and points out steps taken to minimize damage from EMP. When asked the percentage of survivability could be ensured under current precautions and regulations Bartel admitted that the Texas grid could not survive an EMP attack.

Testimony by Mark Carpenter of Oncor: Carpenter argued that to recover from an EMP attack you would have to harden everything because even if generators recovered from an EMP there would be no place to send the energy.

From this statement, industry lobbyists are suggesting that there is no point to hardening their own critical facilities to a survivable standard. In such an event there will be no recovery without generation. In fact, it is a lot easier restore neighborhoods to a power source than to restore the power source after a disaster. Further, there will be military assets needed to maintain order that will require power from the civilian grid.

This argument, however, points to a larger problem. The primary element of the vulnerability of the old grid system is interconnectedness. Power generation technology for the future is innovating towards hardened micro grids that can solve their own black start problems after an event and provide for local communities. Major E commerce corporations do this now. They have taken measures for their own survivability but their customers depend on the old grid system. The only thing slowing down this market trend is the electrical utility lobby.

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