International Journal of Smart Grid and Clean Energy
A specter of logical challenges haunts smart grid N. Khan*, S. Rauf, N. Abas, A. Kalaira
Department of Electrical Engineering, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Park Road, Islamabad, Pakistan
EXCERPTS: PLEASE READ THE FULL PAPER. IF THIS DOESN’T CONVINCE THE PUBLIC OF THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND SECURITY ISSUES WE FACE BECAUSE OF THE INVESTOR DRIVEN “NOT SO SMART GRID” …….
- Khan et al.: A specter of logical challenges haunts smart grid
As a matter of fact customers had best quality power in past before widespread use of nonlinear electronic devices. Quality of power can not improve by definition with use of electronic devices as they themselves are the cause of problem. Smart grid super structure stands on communication technologies whose components are made of electronic devices. Idea of improving system scale power quality using power devices reflects me an attempt to treat the good with cells of evil.
Addition of power electronics mimics like adding citric acid to milk for curing. The integration of power electronics and ICT into system will cause new problems like harmonics instead of supply any better quality power. It is an established reality that the causes of voltage sags and swells are short circuit faults on power systems but causes of harmonics, resonant over voltages, transients, spikes and notches are the electronic devices. Nobody can expect smart grid to supply better power quality whatsoever.
Present electric grid is like a sleeping giant who if rises may deny master’s decisions. Before opening the
Pandora box (rollout) we must rethink on how far the zombie can go.
Smart grid rollout needs huge investment to be recovered over times to come. Consumers look at smart grid in terms of money, safety and security in the light of their earlier experiences with computerized systems.
IT and ICT manufacturers, middle men and vendors with invested business interests use knotty jargon to prove the worth of investments on smart grid
Motivation for smart grid comes from IT experts and communication engineers who are not well aware of conventional electric grid which they are supposed to upgrade to smart grid status.
Several computer and communication experts  have pointed out timing, bandwidth and security limitations of information and communication technologies to cope with speed, security and real-time operational requirements of next generation smart grids.
Smart grid network vulnerabilities consist of unauthorized access to HAN, BAN, AMI, data concentrator, substations, and data centres. Software malware may limit performance of smart grid and compromise communication equipment through false information injection, eavesdropping, and other unknown techniques.
Electronic intrusions have already caused billions dollars losses to utilities and banks in past. Although, cyber security laws and systems have been developed yet the risk is too great to ignore.
Power delivery and management in smart grid context require secure communications which is likely to become vulnerable to hackers and opportunists through physical layer spread all over the country and even beyond through internet.
Data availability, confidentiality and integrity are the prime concerns of smart grid system operation.
Previous history of electric utilities, banks and governments shows the hackers/intruders somehow managed to break passwords and electronic barriers causing huge losses. Now the online systems are more secure due to multiple time consuming key management techniques yet power system communications are delay sensitive. If any hacker simply manages to cause delay in trip and control messages he succeeds to bring down power system that in the case of widespread interference may cause blackout. Intelligent meters are vulnerable to manipulations to hardware manipulations (shielding the antenna of a wireless module such as WiFi 802.11 or ZigBee 802.15.4) and firmware (heart beat signals of smart meter’s flash memory are possible by skilled attackers). Utility infrastructure is vulnerable to HAN sniffing, meter emulation, meters take over and access to data concentrator even centres. Web based threats have no limit and may take the form of smart meters, encryption codes, data and relay settings .
Channel jamming attacks on wired and wireless services have been reported easy options for intruders . DoS attack may evolve through traffic jamming in application layer network exhausting computer resources , buffer flooding in transport layer , ARP spoofing in MAC layer to target availability as well as integrity , and jamming in substation physical layer . False data injection may fail SCADA system to recognize DC status and power system state estimation to bring the smart grid buzz down to knees.
Advanced metering infrastructures (AMI) and home area networks (HAN) being intelligent parts can render themselves to be nests for intruders.
If intruder manages to cross these borders, he can play with intelligent electronic devices (IED) settings which has happened in past in banks, water, gas and power utilities leading to huge losses.
Communication capacity limitations, managed attacks, faults and congestions virtually render smart grid a potent risk to public and utilities.
Power system operation, control and protection depend on PMU outputs which can be hacked by intruders and during natural calamities
If we add on overheads communication delays for security reasons then the total time exceeds the protection and control time limits . Analysts argue the overall effects of smartness are hard to believe to increase stability
Electrical engineers know the major power quality concern is the voltage sag which arises during short circuit fault. If auto reclosing relay continues trying on three phase bolted short circuit the result would be recurring voltage sags dipping voltage on distribution circuits to multiply evil rather than correcting so called self-healing.
….utilities (and consumers) need to spend huge sums of money now which will be gradually recovered in decades to comes in future
Management and business guys in collaboration with vendors can not teach power engineers how to operate their power system. No one teaches swimming art to infant fishes.
The true “smart grid” will be a digitalized distribution system that conveys real-time information. Incorporating remote wind and solar, on the other hand, will require an upgraded grid, something entirely different. Our present 345-kilovolt AC transmission wires can’t do it without unacceptable line losses. We will need to rebuild to 765-kilovolt DC system – something that could take decades and easily cost several trillion dollars.”
Smart adoption thesis is built on integration of solar parks and wind farms to smart grid for its bi-directional power flow capability  but unknowingly it has hit the energy innovations research very hard. Smart grid has inflicted a never healing wound on clean technology industries which are likely to worsen the power crisis more than smart grid can help.
There are several independent analysts who hold the smart grid is even smarter than it appears as it is a business oriented strategy that will eventually lead to more expensive power by asking consumers to pay to cope with cyber security threats  in order to equip the silent sentinels and middleware protecting consumers from ambushed hackers lurking to know how Mac uses electricity on laundry, space heating and cooling applications.
Even in the best case, it will expose public health, mental conditions, economic, personal like dislike secrets to at least the utility staff which can fall prey to criminal blackmailers. In terrorism hit countries like Pakistan, bank officials have been tracked down to be responsible for pointing out rich people to robbers, dacoits, looters, kidnappers and abductors. Utility operators are not different from bank operators so the public privacy and security can be compromised through simple consumption and billing data.
Human Health Hazards
There is hardly any place on earth which is free of electromagnetic radiations. Out roofs are fitted with mobile phone towers, streets entangled with WiMAX/WiFi antennas, and homes going to be furnished with radiative smart meters. Air, food and water face serious electromagnetic, radiation, chemical and pesticide threats. Mankind may easily destroy itself by its own intelligence (said, Stafford Cripps). We are consuming oil, coal and natural gases at speed of 1000 barrels/sec equivalent every moment. The world is fast becoming a massive polluted dump (said, Melville De Mellow).
Lottery, auction and speculations have changed the definition of high morality. It is normal business strategy to deceive public to earn money. Business has two functions: marketing and innovation. It has become fashion to rehearse ideas, innovations and creativity to promote business from the manufacturing industries to education institutions. The nature of business is always swindling. As long as revolving door policy stays enforced, there is little N. Khan et al.: A specter of logical challenges haunts smart grid 395
hope of attention to consumer concern. After saturation of IT, computer and telecom business the surplus experts have joined utilities to convert the existing electric grid into smart grid by integrating thinking wires in dumb grids.
Smart grid revolution seems to be a more economic fiddle than risk of biological effects.
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