Cybersecurity, Distribution Automation / Substation Automation, Smart Grid

DOE makes $30 million in new cybersecurity investments

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced awards totaling about $30 million for the development of new tools and technologies to strengthen protection of the nation’s electric grid and oil and gas infrastructure from cyber attack.

With support from the DOE, energy sector organizations in California, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington State will develop new systems, frameworks and services that advance the cause of more resilient energy delivery control systems.

Since 2010, the DOE has invested more than $100 million in cybersecurity research and development through awards and funding provided to industry, universities and national laboratories.

All of the DOE’s cybersecurity efforts align with the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity, which was developed by the energy sector in coordination with the DOE. The roadmap outlines a strategic framework over the next decade to design, install, operate, and maintain a resilient energy delivery system capable of surviving a cyber incident while sustaining critical functions.

The eleven projects, which will combine advanced expertise in power system engineering and cybersecurity, will include testing of the new products to demonstrate their effectiveness and interoperability. Energy delivery control systems are designed and operated specifically to control the physical processes that result in the delivery of continuous and reliable power.

Final award amounts are subject to negotiation.

ABB Inc. – Cary, NC

DOE share: $ 2,765,733; Recipient share: $ 936,793

ABB will develop a system that allows substation devices to work together to validate the integrity of communications, such as commands to change a protective relay’s configuration, and assess the potential impact on grid operations.

Electric Power Research Institute Inc. (EPRI) – Palo Alto, California

DOE share: $ 1,524,959; Recipient share: $ 529,384

EPRI will develop a framework that allows utilities to centrally manage the remote configuration of their energy delivery system devices – regardless of vendor or age – more securely.

Foxguard Solutions Inc. – Christiansburg, Virginia

DOE share: $ 3,298,893; Recipient share: $ 1,003,399

Foxguard will develop a service that allows utilities to simplify the process of keeping up-to-date with the most current firmware and software patches and updates.

Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation – Atlanta, Georgia

DOE share: $ 3,283,063; Recipient share: $ 1,726,000

Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation will develop a technology that evaluates energy delivery system control commands to anticipate their impact on power grid operations and, if needed, implement cybersecurity responses to prevent disruptions.

Grid Protection Alliance – Chattanooga, Tennessee

DOE share: $ 2,213,000; Recipient share: $ 637,000

The Grid Protection Alliance will develop an architecture that enables more secure substation communications for data generated by legacy or modern energy delivery devices.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) – Arlington, Virginia

DOE share: $ 3,620,725; Recipient share: $ 1,137,367

NRECA will develop a network that allows utilities and small electric cooperatives with limited resources to centrally manage their networks more securely.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc. – Pullman, Washington

DOE share: $ 2,094,599; Recipient share: $ 845,140

Schweitzer will develop an integrated cyber-physical access control system that simplifies the process of managing access to energy delivery facilities.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc. – Pullman, Washington

DOE share: $ 3,771,371; Recipient share: $ 1,068,807

Schweitzer will develop a radio platform for more secure “last mile” wireless communications used with remote energy delivery infrastructure such as distribution substations.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc. – Pullman, Washington

DOE share: $ 3,892,170; Recipient share: $ 1,248,207

Schweitzer will develop software that allows utilities to centrally manage their local area networks more securely, providing real-time awareness of cyber activity and rerouting network traffic in response to cyber intrusions.

TT Government Solutions Inc. – Red Bank, New Jersey

DOE share: $ 956,560; Recipient share: $ 324,205

TT Government Solutions will develop a technology that analyzes and visualizes smart meter wireless communications to quickly detect unusual behavior that could suggest a cyber attack.

Viasat Inc. – Carlsbad, California

DOE share: $ 3,250,000; Recipient share: $ 3,301,163

Viasat will develop an architecture that gives utilities awareness of the status of their energy delivery systems’ cybersecurity, and allows them to automatically respond to cyber intrusions as predetermined in the utility’s cybersecurity policy.