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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $12 million for six new research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects that will develop innovative cybersecurity technology to help ensure energy delivery systems are designed, installed, operated, and maintained to survive and recover quickly from cyberattacks. Protecting the security and resiliency of America’s power grid is crucial to DOE’s goal of providing cleaner and cheaper power to Americans while advancing President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“Investing in cutting-edge cyber security technology keeps us at the forefront of global innovation and protects America’s power grid in the face of increasing cyber threats from abroad,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “This funding will bolster our commitment to a secure and resilient clean energy future by fortifying American electricity systems and building a stronger grid.”
DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) will fund six university teams to perform cybersecurity RD&D to advance anomaly detection, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and physics-based analytics to strengthen the security of next-generation energy systems. These systems include components placed in substations to detect cyber intrusions more quickly and automatically block access to control functions.
“As the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, no issue keeps me up at night more than our nation’s cyber vulnerabilities — especially those that may exist within the critical infrastructure sectors that power our nation. I’m thrilled to see these federal dollars go towards supporting Virginia Tech in developing cutting-edge tools to strengthen the cyber defenses of our electric power systems,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner (VA).
The projects selected below demonstrate the Department’s focus on “security by design” for U.S. energy systems:
- Florida International University: The project will develop artificial intelligence (AI)-based detection tools and design effective cyber threat mitigation strategies using these technologies. Partners: North Carolina State University (NCSU); University of North Carolina (UNC); Raytheon Technologies Research Center (RTRC); Duke Energy. (Award Amount: $2,000,000)
- Iowa State University: The project will enable defense-in-depth security and resilience for cyber-physical systems using AI-integrated, attack-resilient, and proactive system technologies and solutions. Partners: University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP); Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI); Duke Energy; Alliant Energy; Google; OSISoft; SEL. (Award Amount: $2,000,000)
- New York University: The project will develop a program called Tracking Real-time Anomalies in Power Systems (TRAPS) to detect and localize anomalies in power grid cyber-physical systems. Partners: SRI International; New York Power Authority; Consolidated Edison. (Award Amount: $1,939,416)
- Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station: The project will leverage AI and machine learning to develop techniques and scalable prototypes for intrusion response against advanced cyber-physical threats to power systems. Partners: Rutgers University; Oregon State University; Network Perception; TDi Technologies; PSC Consulting; Electric Power Engineers. (Award Amount: $1,997,921)
- University of Illinois at Chicago: The project will develop a resilient, next-generation solid-state power substation, integrating cybersecurity considerations to improve adoptability. Partners: Iowa State University; University of Arkansas; Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT); Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI); NextWatt LLC; Eaton; ENER-i. (Award Amount: $2,000,000)
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: The university will create a program called Cyber REsilience of SubsTations (CREST), a two-part system to detect and mitigate cyber incidents while maintaining secure communication and critical functions. Partners: University of Michigan-Dearborn; Southern Company Services; GW Grid Solutions LLC. (Award Amount: $1,997,864)
The proposed projects will develop cutting-edge cyber-physical platform tools and technologies that can detect and mitigate incidents in energy delivery systems.