Office of Electricity

Pursuing Innovation to Improve the Cybersecurity of the Nation’s Critical Energy Infrastructure

October 26, 2017

You are here

With cybersecurity for the energy sector emerging as one of the most serious challenges associated with grid modernization and infrastructure protection, maintaining a robust pipeline of cutting-edge technologies is essential to helping the energy sector continue adapting to the changing cyber landscape. The Department of Energy has a long history of working closely with public and private partners toward the energy sector’s Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity vision of having resilient energy delivery systems designed, installed, operated and maintained to survive a cyber incident while sustaining critical functions. Since 2010, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability has invested more than $270 million in cybersecurity research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects that are led by industry, universities and the Department’s National Labs. Since then, more than 35 tools and technologies have transitioned to the energy sector and are in use today. And nearly 1,000 utilities in all 50 states have purchased technologies developed under our Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) research program.

Our current RD&D portfolio of more than 60 projects builds on new concepts from past R&D to develop groundbreaking cybersecurity solutions. Researchers are developing tools and technologies that can be transitioned to the energy sector to prevent, detect, and mitigate cyber attacks intended to disrupt the computers and networks that manage, monitor, protect and control energy delivery, the power grid or oil and natural gas. Examples include:

  • Quantum key distribution to securely exchange data using cryptographic keys while detecting attempted eavesdropping;

  • Algorithms that continuously and autonomously assess and reduce the cyber attack surface;

  • Rapid anomaly identification that may indicate a compromise in utility control communications;

  • Tools to detect spoofing or compromise of the precise GPS time signals used for synchrophasor data used for wide area situational awareness of grid operations; and

  • The ability for high-voltage direct current (DC) systems to detect when commands could destabilize the grid and reject the command or take a different action.

These are just a few examples of the innovative work being done with energy companies, suppliers, researchers, universities, and the Department’s National Labs to develop and transition cybersecurity solutions that are critical to protecting the Nation’s critical energy infrastructure from the cyber threat. Additional details about specific CEDS projects are available HERE.

To learn more about the Department’s strategic and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity for the grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure, visit the cybersecurity section of OE’s website.