• FBI, DHS warn grid operators about cyber threats to power grid

    The FBI and DHS are warning infrastructure operators about the potential cyberattacks on the U.S. power grid. The FBI and DHS have launched a nationwide campaign to alert power companies and security firms, a campaign which includes briefings and online Webinars.

  • Microgrids to enhance diversity, reliability, resilience

    For more than 100 years, the United States electrical grid operated on a one-way delivery model: power generation, transmission, and distribution in response to user demand. Electricity came from big coal-fired plants and hydroelectric dams, later supplemented by nuclear and natural gas plants, and went out to the world as a mix of baseload and peaking power. With more renewable energy integration, smaller-scale and more widely distributed energy resources, and a demand for increased reliability and resilience, the grid of the future is shaping up to be a two-way power flow, with demand adapting more and more to available supply.

  • Using device “fingerprints” to protect power grid, industrial systems

    Human voices are individually recognizable because they are generated by the unique components of each person’s voice box, pharynx, esophagus and other physical structures. Researchers are using the same principle to identify devices on electrical grid control networks, using their unique electronic “voices” — fingerprints produced by the devices’ individual physical characteristics — to determine which signals are legitimate and which signals might be from attackers. A similar approach could also be used to protect networked industrial control systems in oil and gas refineries, manufacturing facilities, wastewater treatment plants and other critical industrial systems.

  • Protecting the grid from weather geomagnetic storms

    On 9 March 1989, a huge cloud of solar material exploded from the sun, twisting toward Earth. When this cloud of magnetized solar material — called a coronal mass ejection, or CME — reached our planet, it set off a chain of events in near-Earth space that ultimately knocked out power to the Canadian province Quebec for about nine hours. Though CMEs hit Earth often, those with the potential to shut down an entire power grid are rare — and scientists want to make sure that next time, we are prepared. Because space weather can have — at its very worst — such significant consequences, scientists from NASA are creating models to simulate how space weather can impact our power grid.

  • Russian govt. behind attack on Ukraine power grid: U.S. officials

    Obama officials said that Russian hackers were behind a December 2015 cyberattack on Ukraine’s power grid. The attack caused power outages and blackouts in 103 cities and towns across Ukraine. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, deputy Energy Secretary, made the comments to a gathering of electric power grid industry executives.

  • Helping to optimize grid

    The nation’s electric power grid is becoming more complex. As the system incorporates more sources of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, utilities need new ways to manage it more efficiently, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory says it is responding to that need.

  • Realistic data needed to develop the 21st century power grid

    Say you have a great new theory or technology to improve the nation’s energy backbone — the electric grid. Would it not be great to test it against a model complete with details that would tell you how your ideas would work? But it is a challenge, because existing sets of data are too small or outdated; and you do not have access to real data from the grid because of security and privacy issues. To overcome this problem, is helping to create open-access power grid datasets for researchers and industry.

  • Building cyber security testbed to help protect the power grid

    It is easy to think of the electrical grid as the power plants, the high voltage lines, the transmission towers, the substations, and all the low-voltage distribution lines that bring power to our homes and businesses. An attack on that grid would involve getting out and cutting lines or dropping towers. But there is another, less visible piece to the grid — all the computers and communication networks that make it work. Attackers can go after the cyber grid, too. They can do it from a desktop. At no real cost. Potentially from anywhere in the world. With few if any clues left behind.

  • Cyberattack on Ukraine grid: here’s how it worked and perhaps why it was done

    On 23 December 2015, two days before Christmas, the power grid in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine went down for a reported six hours, leaving about half the homes in the region with a population of 1.4 million without power. Because of its success, the incident has sent shock waves through cybersecurity circles. Could this happen in the West? In short, yes. This incident underscores the need for diligence and the increased effort in cybersecurity that we are seeing in the government and private sectors. The continuously increasing dependence on the power grid is driving the need for cybersecurity to be part of the design of all new systems.

  • U.S. assisting Ukraine investigate 23 December cyberattack on power grid

    The United States is helping Ukraine investigate last month’s cyberattack last month which disrupted the country’s power grid and left some 80,000 customers without power. Experts say that the 23 December attack against western Ukraine’s Prykarpattyaoblenergo utility was the first known power outage caused by a cyberattack.

  • Extreme weather increasingly threatening U.S. power grid

    Power outages related to weather take out between $18 billion to $33 billion from the nation’s economy. Analysis of industry data found that these storms are a growing threat to, and the leading cause of outages in, the U.S. electric grid. The past decade saw power outages related to bad weather increase, which means that power companies must find a way address this problem.

  • Global electricity production vulnerable to climate change, water resource decline

    Climate change impacts and associated changes in water resources could lead to reductions in electricity production capacity for more than 60 percent of the power plants worldwide from 2040-2069. A new study calls for a greater focus on adaptation efforts in order to maintain future energy security. Making power plants more efficient and flexible could mitigate much of the decline.

  • Harnessing distributed energy devices to balance the power grid

    The electric grid has to balance power supply and demand nearly in real-time, requiring power plants to be adjusted on a second-by-second basis. This instantaneous balance is made significantly more complex by renewable energy such as wind and solar, which add more uncertainty and variability. A new research project is proposing a unique solution to this growing problem: employing the millions of distributed energy resources that already exist, such as solar panels on rooftops and heating and cooling systems in buildings.

  • Making the power grid more resilient, flexible

    “The biggest and most complex machine ever built by humankind” – this is how one researcher describes the U.S. power grid. A research team has been charged with the formidable task of transforming that big and complex machine from the inside out. Inverters convert DC (direct current) electricity to AC (alternating current) electricity, the kind that forms the basis of today’s power grid. To integrate more inverter-based distributed generation into the grid, the researchers are developing a dynamic distribution system (DDS) that supplements centralized power plants, instead of replacing them.

  • Protecting the U.S. electrical grid from cyberattack

    Across the United States, 3,200 separate organizations own and operate electrical infrastructure. The widely dispersed nature of the nation’s electrical grid and associated control systems has a number of advantages, but since the late 1990s, cost pressures have driven the integration of conventional information technologies into these independent industrial control systems, resulting in a grid which is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattack, either through direct connection to the Internet or via direct interfaces to utility IT systems. DARPA is soliciting proposal for creating automated systems to restore power within seven days or less after a cyberattack on the grid.