Nine National Laboratory-Led Projects Will Advance Research, Development, and Demonstrations for New Cyber Tools and Technologies for Clean Distributed Energy Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) announced $39 million of funding for nine new National Laboratory projects to advance the cybersecurity of distributed energy resources (DER). The funding, which was made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will support targeted research, development, and demonstration related to different elements of the DER landscape, underscoring the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthening the nation’s energy and national security. 

“Distributed energy resources are critical to reaching President Biden’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals, and ensuring the cybersecurity of those resources is important to building a resilient energy future for all Americans,” said Puesh Kumar, Director of CESER. “From detection and diagnostic tools to leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, CESER is proud to support these nine exceptional projects led by the DOE National Labs which will enhance the security of DERs in meaningful, pragmatic ways.” 

DER systems include utility-scale solar, wind, storage and other clean technologies; behind-the-meter renewables and storage systems; electric vehicle chargers; and other customer-owned devices. These research, development, and demonstration projects will develop innovative cybersecurity tools and technologies for DER Systems, such as Distribution Management Systems, Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems, and DER aggregators. 

The National Laboratory teams aim to improve real-time DER operation data analytics using artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) and secure cloud-based solutions for DER applications. The Labs will develop security solutions for current and emerging communication architectures for DER systems and develop innovative, real-time or off-line analysis technologies that secure DER. 

The projects selected below demonstrate the Department’s focus on enhancing the cybersecurity of DER:  

  • Argonne National Laboratory: The project will develop an Intrusion Diagnostic Unit cybersecurity software tool for DER aggregators to securely participate in wholesale energy markets. The tool will be deployed on edge devices and will be continuously supported using a cloud service to perform real-time monitoring, threat detection and mitigation for individual DER. Partners: Iowa State University; Kevala; University of North Dakota; ComEd.  (Award Amount: $3,484,765)  
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory: Working with a cloud service provider and utilities, this project will develop generic security solutions for the public or hybrid clouds. These cloud solutions have been adopted by utilities to target real-time DER applications providing frequency and voltage support to the power grid, specifically through multiple virtual power plants. Partners: National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Eversource Energy; University of Connecticut; Google Cloud.  (Award Amount: $3,841,209)  
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: The project will create a software platform to allow utilities to share relevant cybersecurity information with one another in a manner that does not compromise the privacy of customers in their service territories, thereby reducing utilities’ reluctance to share information arising from privacy–related liabilities. Partners: Cornell University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Hawaiian Electric; McEachern Laboratories; RJSenergy; Kevala; Enernex; National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Operant Networks. (Award Amount: $4,895,989) 
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: This project will develop cybersecurity detection tools for aggregations of DER. The secure AI/ML tools will detect and mitigate cyber-attacks in electric power distribution systems and microgrids. Partners: Siemens; National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Cornell University; McEachern Laboratories; RJSenergy; Richard Schomberg; Enernex. (Award Amount: $4,872,397) 
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory: The project will develop an emulation-based analysis framework to better understand cyber-vulnerabilities and provide mitigation strategies to guide utilities and other stakeholders operating DERs in disadvantaged communities. The framework will use techniques combining offline analysis and modeling of integrated DER systems to better understand the cybersecurity impacts of the clean energy transition on those communities. Partners: Xcel Energy; Clark Atlanta University; Carnegie Mellon University; Dynamics Organics; Efficiency Maine; Consumers Energy. (Award Amount: $4,924,627)  
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory: This project will incorporate principles of DER system physics into various machine learning-based applications for a comprehensive approach to cyber resilience including vulnerability analysis, attack detection and mitigation, as well as system recovery for DER system operations. A common software framework with a modular implementation will allow user flexibility in deployment. Partners: Siemens; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Pennsylvania State University; University of Connecticut; Microsoft. (Award Amount: $3,692,896)  
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: The project will develop algorithms and an artificial intelligence/machine learning tool for operators to demonstrate human-machine teaming. The project will develop, validate, and field demonstrate real-time detection, precise localization, and appropriate mitigation for a wide range of cyber-attacks on DER operations data. Partners: University of Central Florida; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Siemens; Portland General Electric. (Award Amount: $3,496,485)  
  • Sandia National Laboratory: The project will research and develop a reference model for DER communication protocols using IPv6 and OT SDN and will distribute a reference implementation. The project will produce open source and commercial solutions that are interoperable with existing networking equipment to minimize the impact on the operational technology network for a comprehensive solution to secure DER communications. Partners: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; SEL; Juniper Networks; GE Research; Fort Belvoir; Open Energy Solutions; Grimm SMFS; Spectrum Solutions; Dominion Energy; DTE Energy; Duke Energy. (Award Amount: $4,924,627)  
  • Sandia National Laboratory: This project is looking to inspect encrypted DER traffic at the cloud/utility firewall and will act as a template for all DER vendors, operators, aggregators, and utilities. This will allow the industry entities to deploy defense-in-depth solutions for DER Management Systems with Next Generation Firewalls and Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response solutions. Partners: Palo Alto Networks; University of New Mexico; Amazon Web Services, Inc; Southern California Edison; DERSec; Patria; National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Tucson Electric Power. (Award Amount: $4,900,004)  

This funding supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to safeguarding the nation’s critical infrastructure and advancing the energy sector’s cybersecurity capabilities nationwide.  

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