We Are Prepared for Anything... Except This

by Anna Gretz
July 12, 2018
Home Battery

Part of Swell Energy’s mission is to help build up a defense against one of the country’s most likely natural disasters: a widespread power grid outage.

Our country is not prepared for an attack on our power grid. And it’s not because we don’t have enough information.

The Wall Street Journal warned us about it. It keeps government officials up at night. But the vast majority of Americans are completely unprepared, uneducated, and unaware of the dangers of a power grid cyber attack.

We, as a society, are hooked on electricity. So many people take it for granted, and can’t imagine a world where they couldn’t flip a switch and cook their food, heat their home, communicate with family or co-workers, or access all of the date we have stored in the cloud.

The US power grid is one of the most important, and most vulnerable, systems in the country. Every single critical infrastructure, from communications to water, relies upon its function. Without the power grid, our country can’t conduct business. We can’t do our banking. We can’t even milk our cows.

America is not ready for the grid to go down.

But it might. In fact, it probably will. And the government knows it.

The President of the United States stated two years ago that “For those who would seek to do our Nation significant physical, economic, and psychological harm, the electrical grid is an obvious target.”

The power grid isn’t only a target because of how essential it is to the interworkings of our society, but also because of how weak it is.

The power grid, like many other areas of technology, is automated and remotely controlled. That leaves a network of 160,000 miles of transmission lines, and 55,000 sub-stations very vulnerable. Many major substations of the power grid are completely unmanned, secured from physical attack only by a single, chain-linked fence.

But physical attack isn’t the only, or even the biggest, threat to the system. Cyber hacking is growing as the primary threat to our country’s security, including our energy security. Defending the power grid as a whole is extremely challenging, since there are about 3,200 utilities, all which operation only a portion of the grid, though most of the individual networks are interconnected. With this sort of complicated, multi-faceted network, it’s hard to pick up on a malevolent attack, when there’s so many different administrators involved. The lack of coordination of power grid ownership and leadership doesn’t lend itself well to security.

The Wall Street Journal says it well:

“The grid was cobbled together during the electrification of the U.S. over the past 125 years. It is a fragile, interdependent system. There is so much variability in the grid that what cases a catastrophe one day might not the next, which makes security issues complex. Small problems can quickly spiral out of control.”

Federal officials are very aware of this problem. Almost twenty years ago, officials stated that “virtually any region would suffer major, extended blackouts if more than three key substations were destroyed.” Despite this knowledge, they have done very little about it.

One journalist, Ted Koppel, ventured to ask government officials flat-out what they were doing about this threat to our country. His findings were disturbing. When he asked government security officials about their plan of action if the power grid ever went down, they became uncooperative and defensive, giving Koppel oversimplified and unclear answers. Koppel could only gather from these responses that there really was no plan. At least, not one that was accessible to the people who would be most affected by a prolonged outage (so, everyone.)

The country’s usual response to disaster includes evacuation, increased supervision, and emergency aid. But in the case of tens of millions of homes without power, this action wouldn’t take care of the situation. Evacuation wouldn’t make sense, supervision would never be adequate, and emergency aid would be depleted within days. Koppel speculates that the government doesn’t have a plan because they don’t know where to start. The situation would be bleak, with few good options, if any.

So where does that leave us?

If we can’t depend on the power grid, and we can’t depend on the government to adequately protect us from grid failure, it’s time to take our power into our own hands.

We’re talking about building up your own energy fortress. It’s up to you to make sure you have back-up power--stored energy that you can tap into whenever you need it. Instead of wondering when the next power outage will hit, you can know that you’ll still have the electricity you need to keep your outlets up, your light on, your devices charged, and your refrigerator running. With this sort of security, you can know that your household, and those closest to you, are protected from anything the power grid throws your way.

What does energy security look like? Well, according to Swell Energy, it’s both effective, and affordable for everyone. We call it Energyshield.

There’s not anything like Energyshield on the market so far. We wanted to create a product that anyone could afford, but that provided enough power to meet all of your home’s energy demands in the case the grid goes down

Energyshield is a solar + storage system that equips you with the power you need, and with it, the security you’re looking for. The solar part of the system generates power from the sun, and the storage component does exactly what you think it does: stores the power so you have it whenever you need it.

Energyshield will:

Protect your home against total long-term grid failure. You no longer have to worry about an attack on the power grid. Even if the grid isn’t protected, you are. Future-proof your household against rising energy costs. The energy industry is really unstable right now, and the cost of energy has been rising consistently. A home battery creates a buffer between you and the energy industry. Give you independence from the weak power grid. Instead of relying totally on an aging, unreliable utility grid, take your power into your own hands. Save you money. Forever. When you generate your own power with solar panels, you are tapping into a completely free power source: the sun. You can also save money by storing electricity straight from the grid when it’s cheapest, and use it when rates get high (in the evening).

The weaknesses of the power grid are, we think, completely inexcusable. Experts say that a grid outage resulting from a cyber attack could cost between $1 and $2 trillion to repair. Instead, you could pay only $1 per day to protect your household from an attack on the power grid.

If you’re ready to equip your home with the energy security you need, it’s time to stop talking about cyber attacks, and start talking about EnergyShield.