The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) issued a $30 million funding opportunity for research and development of cybersecurity tools to serve the clean energy sector.
CESER issued the funding opportunity shortly after a separate tranche of $70 million for R&D into reducing cyber and physical security risks to the power grid.
The $30 million funding for cyber tools is in support of CESER’s work to develop new technology to protect clean energy infrastructure from cyber threats.
Specifically, CESAR’s funding will focus on cloud infrastructure that underpins power grid modernization.
A secure and clean energy infrastructure is key to meeting the country’s climate change and clean energy goals, according to a DOE release.
There are 10 awards to be granted, subject to available funds, across several topic areas identified by the agency, including:
Improving forensic analysis of infected renewable energy field devices, including components, smart meters, sensors, and control systems located in physically unprotected areas.
Identifying and addressing cyber threats to renewable power inverters, such as those used in solar and wind power arrays, including battery energy storage applications. Inverter-based resources, according to CESER, are useful, but represent a potential security vulnerability to outside actors.
Improving communications security for distributed energy resources and aggregations of DERs. Networking clusters of solar, wind or battery arrays requires secure communication to help ensure their safety and reliability.
Making virtual power plants (VPPs) more secure. The risks posed by integrated VPPs can be addressed with more research, delivering more secure operation of cloud-networked systems.
The funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Section 40125(b) of the BIL will invest $250 million over a 5-year period from FY 2022 through 2026 to develop advanced cybersecurity technologies for the energy sector through R&D activities aligned with the provision.
CESER was established in 2018 by the Donald Trump administration, and has the mission of focusing on infrastructure security, emergency preparedness and response to threats, both man-made and natural. CESER reports to the DOE undersecretary of infrastructure.