The U.S. power grid is vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and the growing use of rooftop solar panels will provide protection against lengthy blackouts, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.
“It wouldn’t take that much to take the bulk of the power system down,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said today at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York. “If you took down the transformers and the substations so they’re out permanently, we could be out for a long, long time.”
Distributing generation units more widely on the grid, such as by deploying fuel cells and rooftop solar panels will help consumers avoid blackouts. The trend also threatens to cut into revenue that utilities count on to maintain the transmission system, he said.
“A more distributed system is much more resilient,” he said. “Millions of distributed generators can’t be taken down at once.”