Cybersecurity Technology Innovation
NREL creates technologies that secure operations on a more connected, complex energy grid.
Through foundational research and development, NREL is advancing the science and engineering of advanced controls and defense strategies, hybrid intrusion detection, and design methods that can help protect energy systems against disruption. By integrating cybersecurity solutions into the design phase of a device or system, NREL is evaluating how future energy systems can be more autonomous, intelligent, and intrinsically secure.
Blockchain technology has the potential to transform information sharing among power grid stakeholders, advanced distribution system controls, and devices by enhancing transparency, improving security, and creating new value. Establishing a digital identity for devices such as smart appliances, electric vehicles, or rooftop solar could enable a secure, market-based approach for the trade and management of energy in a highly distributed system. NREL's research projects in this area provide insight to utilities and industry on leveraging blockchain to enable trusted communication among millions of energy devices.
Blockchain for Optimized Security and Energy Management is a multilab project within the U.S. Department of Energy's Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium to develop blockchain-based concepts for device security, secure communications, and grid resilience. The project explores how blockchain can enable authentication of operating parameters for generation assets, secure communications for accessing and balancing demand response, secure market operations at the distribution level, and secure registration and authentication of distributed energy resources. Blockchain for Optimized Security and Energy Management will provide insight to utilities and industry on leveraging blockchain to enable trusted communication among millions of energy devices.
In collaboration with Idaho and Oak Ridge national laboratories, NREL is evaluating the cybersecurity risks and challenges associated with electric vehicle fast-charge stations. Researchers are evaluating high-consequence cyber events for electric vehicle fast chargers, leveraging the NREL cyber range to connect a fast charger in the laboratory to an emulated distributed energy system. Using the cyber range, researchers can compare attack scenarios to existing security protocols and identify vulnerabilities and refine cybersecurity protection and mitigation strategies.
NREL is also evaluating the application of public key infrastructure (PKI)—a method for encrypting information exchange and certifying the authenticity of devices—to help ensure digital trust between vehicles and charging stations. This project brings together various automakers and the EV charging sector in a cooperative effort led by SAE International to strengthen EV cybersecurity through wide industry engagement on pre-competitive research.
Cyber-informed engineering empowers engineers with tools and methods to integrate cybersecurity into the early design stages and throughout the life cycle of engineered systems. NREL is coleading a cyber-informed engineering program with Idaho National Laboratory centered on five pillars: awareness, education, development, current infrastructure, and future infrastructure. Learn about the cyber-informed engineering program and how NREL is advancing cyber-informed engineering in the interest of designing secure, clean energy systems.
Zero Export Feeder Through Transactive Markets, NREL Technical Report (2022)
The Future of Blockchain and Energy Systems, NREL Webcast (2022)
Identification and Testing of Electric Vehicle Fast Charger Cybersecurity Mitigations, NREL Technical Report (2021)
Cyber-Physical Events Emulation Based Transmission and Distribution Co-Simulation for Situation Awareness and Grid Anomaly (SAGA) Detection, IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting (2021)
Cybersecurity for Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Infrastructure, IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo (2021)
Module-OT: A Hardware Security Module for Operational Technology, IEEE Texas Power and Energy Conference (2020)
Module-OT Public Service Company of New Mexico Field Demonstration Test Procedure, Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report (2019)
Service-Based, Segmented, 5G Network-Based Architecture for Securing Distributed Energy Resources, IEEE Power and Engineering Society General Meeting (2021)
Our technologies and laboratory capabilities support our partners in securing their own operations and developing the next innovations in cybersecurity. Learn more about partnering with NREL.