The electric grid is central to U.S. national security. Recent disasters provide an example of the downsides of leanness. It's more costly to be less lean, but given our dependence on the electric grid and the increasing prevalence of disasters, safety and resilience may be greater priorities.
Anu Narayanan, an engineer at RAND, is a specialist in what-ifs. Her research focuses on critical infrastructure and national security. In this interview, she discusses her latest work that explores what would happen if a cyberattacker tried to take down the power grid.
China's Belt and Road Initiative focuses on developing infrastructure to connect Beijing to key hubs of economic activity throughout the world. But the more interests one has abroad, the more one has to protect.
Nearly one in three American households in 2015 reported difficulty paying their energy bills or sustaining adequate home heating and cooling. Emerging models of energy services and financing show promise, and could identify creative ways to increase access to funding that could preserve and improve home affordability for millions of Americans.
For Gulf Coast residents, dealing with the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is challenging enough. With the Taylor Energy spill, they may face an even more daunting recovery, one that could take decades. Acknowledging the extent and complexity of recovery is the first step toward supporting coastal communities to build their resilience in the face of overlapping disasters.
As the Saudis' chief political and military partner and the undisputed security guarantor in the Middle East, the United States has considerable influence it can wield over Saudi decisionmaking. The Trump administration could consider using its influence to encourage Saudi leadership to moderate its assertive and damaging policies abroad.
Unleashed in Santa Monica, California, last September, Bird and its competitors are now in 30 American cities and counting. Cities are responding to the scooter takeover with new regulations and increased law enforcement. But if officials rely only on 20th-century tools to integrate these 21st-century scooters into their cities, they will miss a big opportunity.
ISIS's oil revenues declined from a peak of $40 million per month in 2015 to $4 million per month as of early October 2017. Despite the massive reduction, it's still a substantial amount of money for a group whose expenditures decrease with the size of the population and territory it controls and decreased recruitment.
Riyadh plans to invest in Russian energy assets and possibly arms. The deals will lead to the manufacture of arms in Saudi Arabia and likely the transfer of military technology. These agreements thwart the U.S.- and EU-led sanctions regime and send an important signal to Washington.
Demand for rooftop solar panels is soaring among U.S. homeowners. Meanwhile, states are struggling to adapt a 20th-century electrical grid—and the corresponding cost structure for electricity rates—to this 21st-century reality. This is causing confusion and uncertainty.
Since Gadhafi was removed from power, Gulf nations have been vying for position in Libya through proxy forces to influence political outcomes. Libya's rival militias — armed and funded by their respective Gulf sponsors — set the framework for the civil conflict that erupted in 2014 and continues today. Current tensions between Qatar and its neighbors are adding to the instability.
President Trump's actions have not yet resulted in demonstrable change in environmental conditions or funding. But the groundwork is being laid to unwind major regulations and diminish staff at the EPA and other federal agencies with climate-related research in their portfolios.
While biomass will almost certainly never become the dominant fuel for the electricity sector in the United States, it is still worth including as part of a menu of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.