Skip to main content

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.

Text version

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 using the Cyber-Energy Emulation Platform

Optimized Encryption for Distributed Energy Resources

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

Distributed Energy Resources Cybersecurity Framework

NREL has developed an in-depth tool for organizations with DERs to assess and improve their cybersecurity posture. With support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program, the Distributed Energy Resource Cybersecurity Framework provides a holistic assessment for evaluating the cybersecurity posture of DER systems—filling an important gap that expands upon existing cybersecurity frameworks for more modern 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

Director, Cybersecurity Program Office