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Smart grid cyber security report released

Threats to the smart grid will be constantly changing and unpredictable, according to a new report on smart grid cyber security.

By Isabella Kaminski

Organisational and technical risks to the smart grid should be managed at national and regional levels, according to a new report published by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and carried out by energy consulting and certification organisation KEMA.

UK Smart Grid Cyber Security points out that there will be a dramatic change in the nature and complexity of network monitoring and control systems as the grid is developed, which will require organisational change and development of people, processes and technology. It says that cyber security should be considered from a collaborative national industry-wide perspective.

The report, which was commissioned by the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), examines current smart grid structure in the UK and Europe, as well as international standards and guidelines for cyber security.

The future electricity system, which will use microgeneration technology such as solar photovoltaics to reduce consumption of network supplied energy, needs to integrate many more forms of supply and demand and needs be managed in a more dynamic manner, say the report authors. Smart metering should be a “key component...facilitating secure participation of the domestic, industrial and commercial consumer”.

At a national level, smart grid cyber security must be considered in evaluation criteria for Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF) projects and as part of the Smart Grids Forum, according to the report. The UK was called on to examine its relationship with the National Grid and DNOs to define responsibilities and collaborate on security measures. A need was also outlined to establish, develop and maintain national risk assessment for smart grids.

Meanwhile, distribution network operators (DNOs) were called on to develop an operational security management system to bring cyber security under the explicit control of management. The report says they must consider their approaches to risk assessment and examine technology change management strategies to address cyber security.

According to the report, DNOs are already doing reasonably well, but need to make operational security an explicit consideration. It also suggests a detailed audit programme to establish gaps in current practices.

Charles Hendry, the UK Energy Minister, says the government will study the recommendations of the report carefully. The government is soon to publish a high-level strategy for the development the smart grid as part of a forthcoming white paper on electricity market reform.

Click here to see the full report, UK Smart Grid Cyber Security.

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