DOE Launches Zero Trust Cybersecurity Solutions Acceleration Program for Clean Energy Systems

The U.S. Department of Energy recently launched a new cybersecurity program to protect clean energy. The new DOE-led public-private security partnership aims to accelerate the development of zero-trust cybersecurity solutions for clean energy systems, with industry-specific contributions from Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Xcel Energy. Strategic Direction.

The accelerator program will use the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Advanced Research Platform on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) to simulate possible attacks that hackers could carry out on complex energy systems.

The Security Accelerator program will test new technologies to “make clean energy systems cyber-secure from the very beginning of a project,” David Turk, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, said at a roundtable on Oct. 6. The program is a technology partnership of federal experts, energy sector industry partners and innovators to accelerate the development of new cybersecurity solutions for America’s growing electric grid. The project will support grid modernization, address cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and create a grid that can withstand the transition to a clean energy economy, striving to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“The transition to a clean energy economy will require breakthrough network solutions to strengthen the security of the U.S. grid, protect our energy infrastructure, and address the growing threat of extreme weather events across the country,” said David M. “We are seizing the opportunity to build a grid capable of delivering historic amounts of renewable energy across the country while addressing grid vulnerabilities, preparing America for a clean energy future. “

The new program will encourage the rapid development of cybersecurity technology by building a community of cybersecurity solution providers to share ideas, experiences and threat intelligence as they test and validate their technologies in the lab. Strategic direction and cost sharing will be provided by an industry-led steering committee and a federal advisory committee composed of experts from the DOE Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, Emergency Response, and the Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EERE).

The proposed cybersecurity solution will be evaluated using NREL’s Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) Cyber ​​Range (developed with support from EERE). By connecting more than 20 megawatts of energy system hardware, the ARIES Cyber ​​Range provides one of the most advanced simulation environments and provides unparalleled real-time situational awareness and visualization to evaluate renewable energy system defenses.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, and is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Sustainable Energy Alliance, LLC.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has invested nearly $40 million in the ARIES platform over the past few years, according to Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s facilities are helping prepare the grid for increased electric vehicles, renewable energy generation systems, energy storage and grid interaction, and efficient building equipment, she said.

“This is a fairly large-scale experiment that we’ve done over the years, with the ability to directly connect up to 20 megawatts of field equipment,” Speakman said.

Speakman said that while the ARIES platform is “a good place to start,” the DOE has already invested in other cybersecurity areas. The agency will also invest $70 million over the next five years in the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII) to develop a cyber-focused federal institute to help the U.S. achieve efficiency gains while supporting domestic manufacturing.

Michael Ball, chief information security officer at Berkshire Hathaway energy, said these federal investments are important to safely build clean energy infrastructure.

The new Security Accelerator program will allow Berkshire Hathaway to test energy solutions, “in an imitation of what we…have to run every day,” Ball said.

The goal, Ball said, is to “build inherent security and resiliency into the system.” “We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with the government and leverage some of the investment … that gives us a platform where we can achieve these things.”

James Sample, chief security and privacy officer at Xcel Energy, said the accelerator program could enable “huge economies of scale” as utilities address the security challenges inherent in a changing grid. “This is bigger than any utility company. We all know that we are interconnected and we have to work together.”

Zero-trust security essentially means that devices do not trust each other by default, and Sample said that leveraging a zero-trust approach to integrating legacy devices into modern distributed grids presents some fundamental problems. Existing devices “are really not zero trust,” he said. “They’re built on mutual trust. That’s what the control system does.”

That means you can’t retrofit your existing infrastructure to zero trust, Sample said. “We have to fundamentally redesign the way assets work.”

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Author: Yoyokuo