Hiscox report: Energy sector most at risk of cyber incidents
The sector saw a median loss of over £100,000 ($150,000) in the last 12 months on cyber events, having been impacted by phishing and virus infestation attempts. Out of the 15 sectors included in the analysis, energy was one of the industries most likely to experience one or more cyber events over the past year, despite 84% of firms having a dedicated cyber security role.
The findings are part of Hiscox’s Cyber Threat Ranking Table, which uses data from the insurer’s 2020 Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, now in its fourth year, to rate the comparative cyber risk levels of a range of sectors, from a representative sample of 1,039 UK businesses.
Cyber protection was a key factor when it came to identifying the level of risk for the sector, with only 68% of firms in the energy sector having a cyber insurance policy. The mean budget allocated to cyber security was also 10% less than the UK average.
The professional services sector, which includes lawyers, accountants and consultants, proved to be the most cyber-ready, receiving the lowest risk score overall. Businesses in the industry reported the least amount of cyber events and were among the sectors most able to measure cyber impact.
The Cyber Threat Ranking Table also includes cyber risk based on company size. The biggest UK companies experienced the highest losses on cyber incidents, with a median cost of more than £270,000 ($360,000) in the last 12 months. Risk was also associated with a comparatively low cyber security budget and the highest record of cyber incidents.
Despite some industries receiving relatively high threat ranking scores in the UK, the overall results from this year’s Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report showed a marked improvement (in comparison to previous years) in relation to cyber security readiness with the sectors achieving ‘expert’ status nearly doubling – from 10% to 18%.
Sector risk scores (highest to lowest risk)
- Energy (45)
- Food and Drink (42)
- Business Services (41)
- Government and Non-Profit (41)
- Financial Services (39)
- Pharma and Healthcare (38)
- Travel and Leisure (38)
- Manufacturing (37)
- Retail and Wholesale (36)
- Technology, Media and Communications (36)
- Transport and Distribution (36)
- Property (35)
- Construction (33)
- Professional Services (30)
Stephen Ridley, Hiscox UK Cyber Underwriting Manager, commented: “While firms appear to be upping their game when it comes to cyber security at a global level, this is by no means uniform across sectors or countries. The UK energy sector currently appears to be among the most vulnerable which, given the growing intensity of criminal activity across the globe, is a great concern. The high risk score associated with businesses in this sector highlights the importance of on-going investment in cyber defences to help minimise vulnerability and improve overall cyber security resilience.”
Form Energy receives funding power for iron-air batteries
Form Energy believes it has cracked the conundrum of commercialising grid storage through iron-air batteries - and some of the biggest names in industry are backing its potential.
The startup recently announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. Founded in 2017, Form Energy is backed by investors Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group and Macquarie Capital.
While solar and wind resources are the lowest marginal cost sources of electricity, the grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy, even in periods of multi-day weather events, without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability.
Moreover, while Lithium-ion batteries are well suited to fast bursts of energy production, they run out of energy after just a few hours. Iron-air batteries, however, are predicted to have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg according to Renaissance of the iron-air battery (phys.org)
The active components of Form Energy's iron-air battery system are some of the cheapest, and most abundant materials: iron, water, and air. Iron-air batteries are the best solution to balance the multi-day variability of renewable energy due to their extremely low cost, safety, durability, and global scalability.
It claims its first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion and can be optimised to store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants.
"This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonisation: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation," it states.
Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said it conducted a broad review of available technologies and has reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid. "With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages," he said.
Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems. Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.
Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal, believes Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. "The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome the issue of intermittent supply of renewable energy."
Investors in Form Energy's November 2020 round included Energy Impact Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Temasek.
In May 2020, it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the US.
Last week Helena and Energy Vault announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its energy storage system worldwide. It received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) in June.
Maoneng has revealed more details of its proposed 240MWp / 480MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia (click here).
The BESS represents hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that will improve electricity grid reliability and network stability by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods for battery storage, and dispatching energy to the grid during peak periods.