Keeping the U.S. energy grid safe
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has granted 11 awards totaling approximately $30 million for the development of new tools and technologies to strengthen protection of the nation’s electric grid and oil and gas infrastructure from cyber-attack, including an award of $3.25 million to ViaSat Inc.
The company will work closely with Southern California Edison and a large utility headquartered in the South to investigate, develop, and deploy an enhancement to ViaSat’s critical infrastructure protection system that incorporates policy-based automated responses to cyber events, increasing the resiliency of transmission and distribution networks.
The cybersecurity system focuses on securing utilities’ operational grids, enabling energy, water, oil and gas, and transportation operations crews to manage security through a virtual display of the network. The system implements an authenticated and encrypted “security fabric” that protects machine to machine communications between devices, and provides grid operators with the ability to visualize the security state of the system. Sensors continually update the information in real time, creating a hierarchical view that operators can use to identify issues, then drill down to individual nodes to contain or fix problems as they arise.
Augments Traditional IT Security
Traditional IT approaches have not adequately addressed the real-time control systems in the operational grid. ViaSat infrastructure protection provides these added benefits:
- Cyber-defense in depth by applying as an overlay to the best IT system security using firewalls, intrusion detection, deep packet inspection, analytics, network segmentation, device identity management and authentication, and other techniques.
- Policy based management to define/model appropriate device behavior, govern response to significant events, and other systems management features.
- Common operational picture of cybersecurity health for rapid network security fault assessment, analysis, and incident response.
- Integrates with additional systems such as physical security, physical access control, and user access control to make grid operations more resilient and reliable.
All DOE cybersecurity efforts align with the “Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity,” jointly developed with energy sector companies. The Roadmap outlines a strategic framework over the next decade to design, install, operate, and maintain a resilient energy delivery system capable of surviving a cyber incident while sustaining critical functions.
ViaSat is teaming with both Southern California Edison and another major utility to provide an easy transition from the lab to test and rollout into operational networks.
“We’ve been working with ViaSat very closely to develop our cybersecurity capabilities at SCE and this DOE grant validates our approach,” said Jeff Gooding, principal manager, Smart Grid System Engineering at Southern California Edison. “The advanced response capabilities will be a big step forward towards enabling us to improve our response time to incidents.”
Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab
Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.
The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.
Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.
Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.
Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.
"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.