A smarter, modernized, and more secure grid will be pivotal to the United States’ world leadership in a clean energy future. | Photo courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Editor's note: This is a cross-post from The White House Blog.

Protecting the electric system from cyber threats and ensuring its resilience are vital to our national security and economic well-being. This is exactly why cybersecurity is one of four key themes in the White House’s Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid. For obvious reasons, the private sector shares our interest in a safe and secure electric grid. The Administration has benefited from working closely with industry, including to develop the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity, released by the Department of Energy last September. 

To continue that close cooperation, last week Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman and I, along with senior officials from the Department of Homeland Security, hosted industry leaders to discuss a new initiative to further protect the electric grid from cyber risks. This initiative -- the Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Maturity Model Pilot -- is a new White House initiative led by the Department of Energy, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, to develop a model to help us identify how secure the electric grid is from cyber threats and to test that model with participating utilities.

Gaining knowledge about strengths and remaining gaps across the grid will better inform investment planning and research and development, and enhance our public-private partnership efforts.

I was encouraged to see an impressive number of electric sector leaders participating and sharing their views with us. Their high level of interest in this new effort reaffirmed for me that these stakeholders share our desire to better understand the strengths and remaining gaps across the sector, so that together we can continue to take concrete steps to protect the electric grid from cyber threats.

We look forward to continued cooperation with our partners in industry to ensure this initiative builds on industry efforts and becomes a meaningful tool to create a modern, secure electric grid that carries us through the 21st century.