Smart grid cyber security event addresses industry issues

Smart grid cyber security
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An event held in Brussels yesterday covering smart grid cyber security discussed ways to keep energy transition safe and secure for users and providers.

At the high level technical workshop, hosted by the European Distribution System Operators’ Association for Smart Grids (EDSO) and the European Network for Cyber Security (ENCS), cyber security experts explored new challenges to smart grid cyber security posed by changing dynamics, an increased reliance on ICT solutions and the increase of distributed generation. Issues within the system are further complicated by additional cyber security responsibilities taken on by electricity distribution system operators (DSOs), in the face of increased focus on consumers in the field of energy transition.

Delivering the keynote speech, Bulgarian MEP Peter Kouroumbashev urged stronger cooperation across EU Member States with regard to smart grid cyber security and critical infrastructure, stating essential service operators are subject to a variety of threats and so their data must be kept particularly secure. He further called for operators of essential services to be exempt from the Public Sector Information Directive, which covers the use and reuse of government-held data in Europe.

Joachim Schneider, Chief Technology and Operations Officer of the Grid & Infrastructure of innogy SE, told members: “Security has to be seen as important part of every smart grid project,” during a presentation of EDSO’s proposals to streamline the roles taken on by DSOs in terms of new technology uptake.

Delegates shared new developments in knowledge and technology, as well as lessons learned from previous breaches in smart grid cyber security. Speakers agreed that new tools needed to be developed whereby customers could engage with DSOs safely and reliably.

Anjos Nijk, Managing Director of the ENCS, said: “Smart grids create a host of opportunities for network operators, but unless we’re careful, the same will be true for hackers. Protecting our infrastructure and the people who use it will depend on openness and collaboration.”

EDSO Secretary General Roberto Zangrandi emphasised the importance of smart grid cyber security and digital safety for stakeholders and citizens, as well as within the industry. He also spoke about the responsibility of companies to uphold digital ethics, saying: “The challenge for all of us will be defining a socially responsible digitalisation in our sectors. Cybersecurity and hence the derived ‘digital safety’ [will] become a new civil right for the citizens.”

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