The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced US$45 million to create, accelerate, and test technology that will protect electric grid from cyberattacks to seamlessly help deploy clean and cheap energy to Americans. Cyber threats to American energy systems can shut down critical energy infrastructure and disrupt energy supply, the economy, and the health of American consumers. Combined with the additional grid upgrades funded in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the United States will have an opportunity to build greater cyber defenses into the energy sector. The funding will support up to 15 research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects that will focus on developing new cybersecurity tools and technologies designed to reduce cyber risks for energy delivery infrastructure. Building strong and secure energy infrastructure across the country is a key component of reaching President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
“As DOE builds out America’s clean energy infrastructure, this funding will provide the tools for a strong, resilient, and secure electricity grid that can withstand modern cyber threats and deliver energy to every pocket of America,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE will use this investment to continue delivering on the Biden Administration’s commitment to making energy cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable.”
DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) will fund up to 15 research projects that will establish or strengthen existing research partnerships with energy sector utilities, vendors, universities, national laboratories, and service providers working toward resilient energy delivery systems. The effort will lead to the creation of next-generation tools and technologies designed to reduce cyber incident disruption to energy delivery. Researchers will aim to develop tools and technologies that enable energy systems to autonomously recognize a cyberattack, attempt to prevent it, and automatically isolate and eradicate it with no disruption to energy delivery. Cybersecurity remains a priority as clean energy technologies deployed on the grid become highly automated.
There are six proposed topic areas for the projects, which include:
- Automated Cyberattack Prevention and Mitigation: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that enable energy systems to autonomously recognize and prevent cyberattacks from disrupting energy.
- Security and Resiliency by Design: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that build cybersecurity and resilience features into technologies through a cybersecurity-by-design approach.
- Authentication Mechanisms for Energy Delivery Systems: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that strengthen energy sector authentication.
- Automated Methods to Discover and Mitigate Vulnerabilities: This topic area will focus on tools and technologies that address vulnerabilities in energy delivery control system applications.
- Cybersecurity through Advanced Software Solutions: This topic area will focus on developing software tools and technologies that can be tested in a holistic testing environment that includes a development feedback cycle.
- Integration of New Concepts and Technologies with Existing Infrastructure: This topic area will require applicants to partner with energy asset owners and operators to validate and demonstrate cutting-edge cybersecurity technology can be retrofitted into existing infrastructure.
For more information on the topic areas, visit the funding opportunity announcement.
This funding opportunity aligns with President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice. Applicants are highly encouraged to include individuals from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math on their project teams.
For more information about DOE’s efforts to secure and protect America’s energy sector, visit www.energy.gov/ceser.