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Cybersecurity for the Future Electric Grid

NREL’s cybersecurity research is strengthening our grid against tomorrow’s threats. It spans the fundamentals—from cryptography for distributed energy systems to cybersecurity industry standards for interconnecting new devices.

With billions of new intelligent, connected electronics entering our grid every year, diligent focus on cybersecurity for an evolving grid is crucial.

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NREL’s cybersecurity researchers offer partners site security assessments and the capabilities of a world-class research center at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

Cybersecurity R&D

Power and Communication Systems Emulation

Within the ESIF, researchers can emulate the cyber-physical performance of devices and networks under realistic threats with real hardware in-the-loop. Learn more.

Optimized Encryption for Distributed Energy Resources

NREL and Sandia National Laboratories are collaborating to develop a low-cost option for encrypting distributed energy resources. The module, called Module-OT, will help protect command and control messages over communications channels.

Site Security Assessments

NREL uses nationally developed standards and models to assess the cybersecurity posture for utilities across the country. As an outgrowth of this work, NREL is developing a new framework for cybersecurity assessments with a focus on distributed energy. The Distributed Energy Resources Cybersecurity Framework will help federal agencies mitigate gaps in their cybersecurity posture by informing policies and controls for cyber governance, cyber-physical technical management, and physical security of distributed energy systems.

Security Standards for New Technology

In partnership with Sandia, NREL is leading the way toward new cyber-inclusive standards and practices. By securing a minimum level of performance for new devices, standards raise the baseline cybersecurity of our grid.

Learn more about NREL’s unique focus and vision to secure the grid of the future.

Cybersecurity for the Future Electric Grid


Jonathan White | 303-384-7433