Cybersecurity and Physical Security
Electric Vehicles

Cybersecurity and electric vehicles with DOE

There were two major pieces of news in July involving the American Public Power Association and the Department of Energy.

The DOE said it will provide APPA with funding for member utility physical and cyber security efforts. Separately, the association and the DOE signed a memorandum of understanding related to electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure construction.

Funding for physical, cyber security

The DOE on July 12 said it will provide up to $15 million over three years to support efforts by APPA and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to further enhance the culture of security within their utility members' organizations.

Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall unveiled the news at an event in Washington, D.C., held by Bloomberg on power grid physical and cyber security issues, at which Sue Kelly, president and CEO of APPA, also spoke.

Over the next three years, the DOE funding, which is subject to congressional appropriations, will be used by APPA and NRECA to develop security tools, educational resources, updated guidelines, and training on common strategies that can be used by their member organizations to cultivate an improved cyber and physical security culture.

Activities to bolster their members' security capabilities will include exercises, utility site assessments, and a comprehensive range of information sharing with their members.

At the Bloomberg event, Kelly said that APPA and NRECA "are both going to get a substantial pot of dollars" to assist their members in developing tools, techniques and outside evaluations of their systems. She expressed APPA's appreciation to DOE for providing this much-needed assistance.

APPA, DOE sign MOU to advance EV adoption, infrastructure

Meanwhile, APPA and the DOE on July 22 said that they will pursue collaborative efforts to advance electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure construction in public power communities across the U.S.

In signing a memorandum of understanding, APPA's Kelly and DOE Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Friedman said they would both work to develop information and resources to increase education and awareness of the benefits of EVs to public power utilities and local officials in a partnership called "EV Everywhere — Public Power Charged."

"Given our strong commitment to environmental stewardship, public power is honored to partner with the DOE to promote increased use of electric vehicles," Kelly said. "We want to be responsive to changing customer preferences and help our members prepare for the future of transportation."

One significant result of this agreement is the planned development of a community action plan that focuses on small- and medium-sized communities with fewer than 200,000 electric customers. There are almost 2,000 public power communities with fewer than 200,000 customers. Education materials such as webinars and guidebooks will be created with many different audiences in mind, including utility employees, board of directors, city council members, mayors, and state-level representatives.

The hope is that this will lead to increased efforts to construct workplace charging facilities at utilities and community businesses and allow for the study of the impacts of EVs in public power communities, their utility infrastructure, and the modern grid.

APPA will be able to share updates from the broader EV Everywhere Utility Partnership and give industry input on EV-related policy and technical issues through the DOE's Quadrennial Energy Review and Quadrennial Technology Review.

"APPA has shown tremendous leadership in promoting EVs among its network of public utilities, and with this MOU, we are eager to work together to electrify transportation with clean and renewable power in our biggest cities and smallest towns, ensuring that EVs truly are everywhere," Friedman said."