The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of
Microgrids are small-scale versions of traditional larger power grids that draw energy from clean sources such as the wind and sun, as well as from conventional technology. They can be connected to a larger electric grid, but can also work independently. In addition, microgrids can more efficiently manage real-time demand, supply, and storage of energy at a lower cost and with less pollution than a conventional grid.
The use of microgrids has grown significantly during the past decade, with much of that growth occurring within the last few years. The growth has been driven by concerns about rising fuel costs for macrogrids, as well as macrogrid reliability, due to local community impacts such as loss of power to millions of people caused by natural disasters (e.g. Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012). With the advent of the smart grid, another concern comes from the awareness of cyber threats facing macrogrids.
"Given the importance of these new microgrids, it is important to take a methodical approach to creating a security architecture that can be applied to these systems in a relatively standardized manner," said
Meanwhile, the ability of a microgrid to help minimize impacts during high energy demand conditions, and the increased focus on renewable and green energy sources, has made microgrids a viable alternative for efficient energy management and distribution.
According to a
The SDSC project will focus on analyzing the cybersecurity aspect of one of the world's most advanced microgrids, located on the UC San Diego campus. The university saves more than
"Improving security for our sophisticated microgrid is extremely important to us," said
"SDSC will contribute its security experience in dealing with complex supercomputer systems as well as securing sensitive data such as FISMA- and HIPAA-compliant databases, to help raise awareness of security issues facing microgrids," added
A well-defined security architecture and best practices to be developed under this project will provide a defense-in-depth approach to securing microgrids, ensuring that threat vectors identified during the threat analysis phase are properly mitigated. This security architecture shall be designed to support the anticipated future growth of the UC San Diego microgrid, as well as microgrids around the world.
The research work performed by SDSC is being funded by
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