Collaboration With UL Supports Development of New Requirements for Cybersecurity and Modern Energy Systems

March 14, 2022 | Contact media relations

A photo of rooftops with solar panels with illustrated connection lines and communications icons. NREL and UL are developing a new cybersecurity standard for distributed energy resources, such as solar panels.

In collaboration with UL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is developing an Outline of Investigation for a cybersecurity certification standard for distributed energy resources (DERs) and inverter-based resource (IBR) devices.

The collaboration expands on the NREL-UL team’s recent publication of the report, “Cybersecurity Certification Recommendations for Interconnected Grid Edge Devices and Inverter Based Resources,” which provides recommendations for DER and IBR device cybersecurity. Upon completion of the Outline of Investigation, the team will propose development of consensus for a standard that prioritizes cybersecurity enhancements for power systems with high penetrations of DERs and IBRs. It will apply to photovoltaic inverters, wind turbines, and energy storage devices among other resources essential to advance grid operations. NREL’s collaboration with UL on establishing the cybersecurity certification program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“Currently, there are no cybersecurity certification requirements to which manufacturers and vendors can certify their DER devices and IBRs against an established and widely adopted cybersecurity certification program,” said Kenneth Boyce, senior director for Principal Engineering with UL’s Industrial group. “The development of these new cybersecurity certification requirements will provide a single unified approach that can be taken as a reference for performing the testing and certification of DERs before being deployed and while in the field.”

With each organization’s experience leading working groups to publish standards for the electric sector, the team expects a streamlined process through leveraging in-house expertise, state-of-the-art evaluation facilities, and by bringing industry experts to participate in the standards development process.

“By collaborating with UL on this technical report, we have established a valuable working relationship that will strengthen our ability to develop the forthcoming cybersecurity certification standard for DER and IBR devices,” said Danish Saleem, senior researcher for energy cyber-physical system security at NREL.

Unified direction on cybersecurity testing and commissioning will help component manufacturers, system integrators, installers, and operators minimize risk and understand their roles in securing essential infrastructure. The collaboration will help introduce robust cybersecurity to the modern electric grid and help industry adopt security-by-design concepts for new DER systems.  

Read the UL press release and view the recording from a recent Cybersecurity Advisory Team for State Solar meeting to learn more about this work. In the January meeting, presenters from NREL and UL provided an update on the Outline of Investigation.

Tags: Energy Security and Resilience,Energy Systems Integration