There’s a report that a former KGB spy worked on the New York State electric grid for years. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News have both reported on the susceptibility of the electric grid to terrorist attack. No doubt other elements of the energy grid, such as the hundreds of thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines, could also be disrupted. This cross-sectional exposure to such interventions or disruptions is only to be expected when energy depends upon a far-reaching, integrated network.
This is yet another reason why decentralizing energy production to local wind and solar is a good idea. Such a decentralized system can be attacked, but because it consists of so many more elements, it presents a daunting challenge to affect more than a tiny portion of it. This is the same strategy that’s used by large Content Delivery Networks (“CDNs“) to deflect denial-of-service attacks away from their customers: Their attack surface is just so large, it’s silly to even mount such an attempt. Indeed, often, once attackers know a target is hosted in such a way, they’ll simply pick someone else.