The report, published by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and conducted by KEMA, was commissioned for the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Its publication comes just as a new taskforce prepares to start talks between the government and energy Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) on how to best protect future power grid IT and communications.
While the report describes the current DNO and government plans as “rigorous,” it also urged for a more coherent and unified approach. For instance, organizations participating in the smart grid will be responsible for managing their own security, in contrast to the smart meter deployment which has enjoyed a unified security approach.
In the study, KEMA notes, “Smart metering providers will be provided with “one set of detailed specifications which will be applicable to all suppliers participating in the rollout, and one wide-area communications infrastructure provider.” However, the study suggests the smart grid rollout is less organized, “Each DNO (will be) responsible for deploying its own smart grid solutions, including communications infrastructure, to its own specifications. Therefore there is a greater challenge to the coordination of smart grid cyber security efforts.”
The report offers a variety of recommendations at both the local and national level such as that cyber security be incorporated into the work of the Smart Grids Forum, that a national smart grid risk assessment process be established, and that cyber security be brought under the direct control of management.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry says the study was appreciated and notes, “We will study its recommendations carefully,” calling security as critical. Hendry indicated the government is working on a strategy for the development of the smart grid which will be published as part of an upcoming white paper on electricity market reform.
ENA chief executive David Smith adds: “We are keen to work with government so that cyber security is not a sub-project but reflects the risks posed to critical infrastructure we depend upon so much.”