Microgrid Knowledge Releases New Microgrid Cybersecurity Report

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Microgrid Knowledge today released a new special report on microgrid cybersecurity at Microgrid 2017, a gathering this week in Boston of more than 400 microgrid companies and customers.

microgrid cybersecurity

Credit: US Department of Defense

The report, “Why We Need Microgrid Cybersecurity: The Threat is Real,” explores the growing threat to grid security from cyber intrusions into commercial computer networks across a wide range of industries.

Produced in partnership with S&C Electric, and available for free download, the paper explains the value of microgrids as a cybersecurity defensive measure. If a cyberattack on a utility causes a power outage, microgrids can island from the grid and continue serving local customers independently.

For that reason, those concerned with grid security are increasingly deploying microgrids.

“Every day there is different hack story,” said Michael Kilpatrick, vice president – power systems solutions at S&C Electric. He noted the growing number of microgrids at military bases, in particular. “If you are a foreign agent with malintent that is probably the place you would try to do a cyber attack.”

Advanced microgrids offer cybersecurity through use of distributed architecture with multiple systems that communicate with each other. Because of their redundancy, cybersecure microgrids are able to compensate for loss of one or more control points.

“True microgrid cybersecurity requires that there is no single point of failure in the system, as there is in centralized architecture,” said Erik Svanholm, CEO of IPERC, a subsidiary of S&C Electric. “Resiliency is provided by failover of the ‘master’ from one distributed controller to another. Putting intelligence and processing power at the endpoints allows localized communications and control which means a smaller network footprint that can be secured and monitored.”

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Kilpatrick added: It’s not just the “bits and bites and code or the way the data is encrypted” that make an advanced microgrid cybersecure. “It’s the design of the system and the independent decisions the distributed assets can make.”

Over the next few weeks, the Microgrid Knowledge Special Report series on microgrid cybersecurity will cover the following topics

  • Why We Need Microgrid Cybersecurity: The Threat is Real
  • Grid Cyber Attacks: How is Our Electric System Vulnerable?
  • The Cybersecurity Value of Microgrid Islanding
  • How to Create a Cybersecure Microgrid and Protect the Macrogrid, Too
  • Microgrid Cybersecurity: Fighting Asymmetrical Warfare
  • First Cybersecure Microgrid Controller Installed by Midwestern Utility

The Microgrid Knowledge special report, “Why We Need Microgrid Cybersecurity: The Threat is Real,” is downloadable free of charge, courtesy of S&C Electric. 

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.