Tesla attack prompts German energy service provider to call for grid protection updates

Credit: Tesla Asia/X

German utility Westenergie CEO Katherina Reiche has called for a collaboration between policymakers and power grid operators to strengthen the response to attacks on the country’s power infrastructure. The executive’s comments come on the heels of the suspected arson attack against Tesla Giga Berlin-Brandenburg in Grünheide, Germany. 

As noted in a Reuters report, Reiche told reporters in Duesseldorf that security measures needed reviewing and a better legal framework must be created. “Critical infrastructure is vulnerable,” Reiche noted. 

The Westenergie executive’s comments come from a place of experience. The utility’s subsidiary, Westnetz, after all, dealt with the restoration of power to tens of thousands of households in western Germany in 2021. That event, however, was caused by flooding. As per Reiche, a different strategy would be needed when dealing with deliberate acts of sabotage

One such attack happened last week when the Vulkan Group sabotaged a power pylon near Tesla Giga Berlin. The attack didn’t just result in the Grünheide-based Model Y factory losing power; it also resulted in several districts and medical facilities experiencing power outages. 

“It is probably not possible to protect such a network to a 100% degree at all times,” Reiche said. She also noted that apart from power lines, gas, and telecommunications facilities are exposed to potential acts of sabotage. 

The Westenergie executive raised concerns about the potential misuse of transparency regulations that require grid operators to publicly disclose infrastructure data as well. As per Westenergie, such regulations may need to be reviewed to prevent them from becoming a potential safety vulnerability.

While the Vulkan Group’s March 5, 2024 attack disrupted the power supply to Tesla Giga Berlin, German grid operator E.DIS successfully restored power to the Model Y production plant on Monday evening after working around the clock to expedite repairs. The restoration of Giga Berlin’s power supply was celebrated by Tesla workers and EV enthusiasts in social media. 

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Tesla attack prompts German energy service provider to call for grid protection updates
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