Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Out of the Dark

Los Alamos scientists strategize about how best to keep the lights on with a modern and secure national power grid.
February 1, 2019
A nighttime view of the density of lights across the United States.

America’s national power grid consists of nearly 200,000 miles of high-tension transmission lines operated by hundreds of utility companies. In many areas, however, the infrastructure has not kept pace with changes in population and demand for electricity, making it more vulnerable to outages and attacks.CREDIT: NASA

Society’s critical dependence on electricity makes it a target, and that is an issue of national security.

Cell phones and computers, HVAC systems and dishwashers, bank accounts and hospital records, subways and security systems—without electricity, humanity is left in the dark in many important ways. The nation’s energy grid is not only one of the most important networked systems in the country, it is also one of the most complicated. Scientists at Los Alamos are using mathematics, computer science, and engineering to make the nation’s power grid more resilient, reliable, sustainable, efficient, and secure. The modernized grid will incorporate more renewable sources of electricity, withstand wind and water, recover quickly after an outage, and establish safeguards against threats of all kinds.

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