WASHINGTON, DC — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $70 million funding opportunity to enhance the cybersecurity posture of electric cooperative, municipal, and small investor-owned utilities. This critical funding—made possible by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which marks its second year this week—will help build a more secure and resilient energy grid that is better prepared to meet the cybersecurity threats facing electric utilities. Today’s announcement reinforces the Biden-Harris Administration’s dedicated efforts to ensuring secure, reliable power to all Americans in every pocket of the nation, which will help achieve the President’s ambitious clean energy goals, improve public safety, and strengthen America’s national security.
“The frequency and sophistication of cyber threats is increasing, and we need to ensure electric utilities serving rural communities have the tools and training needed to deliver reliable and secure energy,” said Infrastructure Under Secretary David Crane. “Rural electric cooperative, municipal, and small investor-owned utilities carry out a critical economic and national security role in the United States. This funding will support important investments to harden utility systems, deliver crucial technical assistance, and provide cybersecurity training to the electric utility workforce.”
Managed by the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), the Rural and Municipal Utility Cybersecurity (RMUC) Program’s Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) aims to fund projects in the following three topic areas:
- Support investments in cybersecurity technologies, tools, training, and improvements in processes and procedures for eligible electric utilities to improve their cybersecurity posture;
- Strengthen the peer-to-peer and not-for-profit technical assistance ecosystem currently serving eligible electric utilities by providing funding for technology investments; and
- Increase access to technical assistance and training for eligible utilities with limited cybersecurity resources by providing funding that will broaden the scope of products and services available.
DOE CESER is making $70 million of federal funding available for new awards, subject to the availability of funds. CESER anticipates having three topic areas and awarding up to 10 financial assistance awards in each topic area. CESER may issue one, multiple, or no awards. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately 24-48 months. View the full FOA.
Additional Cybersecurity Resources for Rural and Municipal Utilities
In addition to this RMUC Program ACT FOA, CESER is also offering the RMUC Program Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) 1 Prize and a series of cybersecurity training events.
The RMUC Program ACT 1 Prize will award $8.96 million to eligible utilities with limited cybersecurity resources or that serve military installations. Up to 55 winning utilities will compete for $200,000 in cash prizes and technical assistance. The deadline for ACT 1 Prize submissions is November 29, 2023.
Starting October 31, 2023, CESER launched a new 3-day industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity training event for technical practitioners in the grid. There will be 6 events, one located in each of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) regions. These training events are free for electric utility staff.
For more information about the RMUC Program or cybersecurity training opportunities, please visit Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance (RMUC) Program | Department of Energy.