U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall recently announced new funding to strengthen and protect the nation’s electric grid from cyber and physical attacks. The Energy Department will provide up to $15 million, subject to congressional appropriations, to support efforts by the American Public Power Association (APPA) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to further enhance the culture of security within their utility members’ organizations.
“As our definition of energy security and the cyber threat landscape evolve, we continue to help our partners strengthen the ways in which they protect critical infrastructure,” said Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall. “This funding is another important step in improving the resiliency of our power grid and our ability to respond quickly and effectively to threats in today’s dynamic environment.”
Over the next three years, Energy Department funding will be used by APPA and NRECA to develop security tools, educational resources, updated guidelines, and training on common strategies that can be used by their member organizations to cultivate an improved cyber and physical security culture. Activities to bolster their members’ security capabilities will include exercises, utility site assessments, and a comprehensive range of information sharing with their members. About 26% of the nation’s electricity customers are served by municipal public power providers and rural electric cooperatives.
The Energy Department has a long history of working closely with federal and private partners, including the Department of Homeland Security on critical energy infrastructure cybersecurity. All of DOE’s cybersecurity efforts align with the September 2011 release of the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity, which was developed by industry and facilitated by the Energy Department. For the past seven years, through the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’ Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program, the Department has invested more than $210 million in collaborative cybersecurity research and development projects among industry, universities, and our national labs. Today’s announcement is another important piece of DOE’s overall commitment to cybersecurity research, engagement with energy sector stakeholders, and the drive toward an end goal of practical use.