The British government and distribution network operators need to work together more cohesively to ensure cyber-security as the nation’s electricity infrastructure moves toward a more networked, “smart” grid.
That’s the conclusion of a report, “UK Smart Grid Cyber Security,” from the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which represents the “wires and pipes” transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.
“In the future, our energy networks will be ‘smarter’ and more complex to ensure we provide for the diverse nature of our energy generation and consumption,” said David Smith, chief executive of the ENA. “However, this presents additional vulnerability. Through a coordinated approach to cyber security we can ensure the lower carbon future of our energy networks, with their greater communication, is secure and robust.”
The report, prepared by the consulting firm KEMA, looks at how government and networks should develop a strategy to secure the future UK electricity infrastructure together. It comes just weeks before a new task force of energy networks and government security advisers are set to meet to discuss how the future influx of IT and communications on the grid will be protected.
The report recommends that cyber-security be considered from a national, industry-wide perspective; the development of a national-level risk assessment process for smart-grid activities; and that smart-grid cyber security be included in the evaluation of projects receiving Low Carbon Network Funds.