Strengthening the resilience of the solar industry to cyberattacks – pv magazine USA

As solar and storage technologies are deployed across the grid in record numbers, there is no time like today to take action to prevent solar power and storage from being vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The electricity grid in the United States is a network of power plants, transformers, wires, sensors, and poles that carry electricity everywhere. When we have electricity, we don’t think much of the grid. But that is about to change. Much of the country’s grid is old, with the average age of power plants over 30 years old, and most transmission lines and transformers over 25 years old. During this period, many new technologies were added to the grid, including solar and energy storage.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) takes the potential threat of cyber attacks on our energy resources seriously. In a State Department address in early February, President Joe Biden announced an “urgent initiative” to improve the United States’ capacity, preparedness and resilience in cyberspace.

(Read ‘We have a real adversary’: work intensifies to protect solar energy from cyberattacks. ‘)

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) continues its efforts to strengthen the resilience of the solar industry in the face of cybersecurity threats. Recently, SEIA and the Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) hosted a half-day virtual summit on the state of cybersecurity in the industry, with a focus on how these threats should be taken into account from the initial design phase.

SEIA says it’s more cost effective to mitigate risk now than to pay the price after the fact by taking just a few simple, inexpensive steps businesses can take to strengthen their cybersecurity and prevent future attacks, including password protection solutions. , multi-factor authentication and software update.

In addition, SEIA advises companies to proactively implement a strong data governance strategy. Data can fall into the wrong hands if not handled properly, and companies are advised to get rid of older and unnecessary data. Small business security tips can be found in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cyber ​​Security Toolkit.

What is needed is an industry-wide approach. SunSpec and Sandia National Laboratories are leading a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Cybersecurity Working Group to create an industry standard for cybersecurity from competing frameworks. Interested companies can join the working group to help develop these essential industry standards and best practices.

Clean energy companies can join a public-private partnership to work with other companies and the government to identify vulnerabilities, sort out cyber issues, and develop scalable solutions to secure the grid. The Department of Energy (DOE) cybertests for Resilient Industrial Control Systems (CyTRICS) are one such partnership between many national laboratories and private companies.

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