The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report recommended ways to make the grid more resilient through the development and demonstration of technologies and organizational strategies that minimize the likelihood that outages will happen, reduce the impacts and speed recovery if they do, all the while developing mechanisms for continual improvements based on changing threats.
The grid is a complex, cyber-physical system that transmits electricity generated from power plants and distributes it to homes and businesses.
In this report, the committee focused on reducing the nation's vulnerability to large blackouts that extend over several service areas or states and last three days or longer.
Events that can lead to such outages include hurricanes, earthquakes, solar storms, cyber and physical attacks, and major operational errors.
"Outages of this scale leave millions of customers without power, resulting in economic damages estimated in the billions of dollars, posing serious threats to health and public safety, and also potentially compromising national security," said M. Granger Morgan, professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and chair of the committee.
"Outages caused by natural disasters are more common than one might think.