The U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 17 announced an initiative to ensure cybersecurity is integrated into the development of clean energy solutions.
The investments will be provided through a $30 million funding opportunity to support the research, development, and demonstration of next generation tools to protect clean energy delivery infrastructure from cyberattacks, DOE said in a news release.
DOE Under Secretary for Infrastructure David Crane said that the funding “will drive the development of next generation cyber technologies that keep our nation at the forefront of innovation, while protecting our energy infrastructure from increasing cyber threats. This work could not be more important or timely as our nation transitions to the clean energy economy.”
The DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response will fund the research and development of new tools and technologies to detect and mitigate cyber threats to clean energy delivery infrastructure, including cloud infrastructure that underpins modernization.
“The U.S. energy sector continues to face increasing cyber threats from nation-states and criminal actors,” said CESER Director Puesh Kumar. “This funding helps ensure that the next-generation clean energy infrastructure is built with cybersecurity in mind.”
CESER is making $30 million of federal funding available for new awards, subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
CESER anticipates making approximately 10 awards under this funding opportunity.
Individual awards may vary with an anticipated amount not to exceed $3 million in federal funding.
Topic areas include:
- Improving the ability to do forensic analysis of infected renewable energy field devices including components, smart meters, sensors, and control systems located in physically unprotected areas that are accessible to potential adversaries. Forensic analysis is critical for quickly identifying the source of a cyberattack and mitigating its impact, DOE said;
- Identifying and mitigating cyber threats to inverter-based resources, including wind and solar generation technology, as well as related energy storage and battery assets. While IBRs play an important role in delivering clean energy to consumers, they have also become a new vector for cyberattacks. This RD&D effort will focus on applications and technologies to identify and mitigate these cyber vulnerabilities;
- Improving the communications security of Distributed Energy Resources and Distributed Energy Resource Aggregations that could include multiple types of DERs (such as a combination of wind, solar, and storage). The deployment of secure communications between DERs, DERA, and the broader electric grid is necessary to ensure the operational stability and reliability of clean energy delivery systems.
- Strengthening the cybersecurity of virtual power plants that offer a deeper integration of renewables and more affordable power. Cybersecurity RD&D is necessary to reduce the cyber-risk for VPP and to enable secure operation and management of these cloud-based system, DOE said.