In the News

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Growing number of climate disasters causing problems

Climate change is challenging infrastructure like seawalls, drainage culverts, and wastewater systems. Carrick Eggleston, professor and head of WPI’s Department of Civil, Environmental, & Architectural Engineering explains that extreme rainfall is happening more frequently in New England, and in some places, a storm that used to have a 1 in 100 chance of happening in any given year now has a 1 in 8 chance of happening in any given year.

Associated Press

Michael Ahern, instructor, and recently retired Director of Power Systems at WPI, provided analysis for an Associated Press report on the presence of uninsulated electrical wires in Maui before the devastating wildfires. The reporting on power line infrastructure and questions about the source of the fires was republished by hundreds of outlets including the Los Angeles Times, PBS NewsHour, Chicago Tribune, Yahoo! News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Politico.

Telegram.com

Michael Ahern, director of Power Systems and instructor in the Foisie Business School, wrote an op-ed published by the Telegram & Gazette stressing the vulnerabilities inherent in the U.S. electrical power system. In "Urgent Action Needed to Protect the Nation's Power Grid," Ahern describes the grid’s problematic infrastructure and ways to guard against cyberattack.

T&D World

Michael Ahern, director of power systems and program director in Academic and Corporate Engagement, wrote an article in T&D World detailing what he sees as the seven issues facing the modernization of the nation’s power delivery system. Spoiler alert: the top challenge is people: utility companies and related organizations face difficulty in attracting and retaining the highly skilled talent they need to meet the growing demands of the grid.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post included insight from Michael Ahern, director of power systems engineering. Gas at high pressure, generally about 1,000 pounds per square inch (psi), is carried long distances in steel pipes with a diameter of 18 to 36 inches, Ahern said. In the case of Massachusetts, those lines will arrive from gas sources in Texas, Pennsylvania or Canada, he told The Post.

Energy Central

Energy Central published "Cybersecurity for the Power Grid" by Michael Ahern, director of power systems engineering. “In my view, cybersecurity is like a race that never ends.  Attackers are building their capabilities even as organizations improve their defenses,” he wrote.  

Charter TV3

Michael Ahern, director of corporate and professional education, spoke to Worcester News Tonight about protecting online data, amid recent ransomware attacks.

Forbes

Forbes interviewed Michael Ahern, director of corporate and professional education, on the cybersecurity training programs he and his team have been creating for several ‘critical’ industries, for this article. “I was an engineer in the power industry for 30 years, and I know that some of these companies are being attacked thousands of times a day,” Ahern said. “There are not enough cybersecurity workers at a time when the trend is that more and more hacks are successful.”

Telegram.com
  • The Telegram and Gazette conducted a Q&A with Michael Ahern, director of corporate and professional education and an instructor for WPI’s Foisie Business School, on his role as WPI’s principal investigator for a cybersecurity research team assessing the vulnerability of the U.S. power grid to attacks.