Extreme weather events, physical attacks, and cyberattacks on the nation’s electrical grid led to Presidential Policy Directives and an Executive Order to secure the grid. This technical area aims to meet physical and cybersecurity challenges, analyze asset criticality, assess ways to minimize risk, address supply chain risks (specifically for transformers), and provide situational awareness and incident support during energy-related emergencies.
Research in this technical area falls under five main activities with related goals.
Activity 1: Improve the Ability to Identify Threats and Hazards
Goal: Anticipate threats and hazards to the grid, while gaining an understanding of the vulnerabilities to all hazards, as well as their potential consequences.
Activity 2: Increase the Ability to Protect Against Threats and Hazards
Goal: Provide effective protection and resilience of the grid by developing standards for analyzing component and system resilience, creating and disseminating tools for resilient planning, hardening components against attacks, and instituting an inherently resilient communications system.
Activity 3: Increase the Ability to Detect Potential Threats and Hazards
Goal: Proactively call out system vulnerabilities or attacks by applying system status characterization, machine learning, and high-throughput analytics for the entire grid lifecycle, from planning and design to operations. Also address the human cognitive components of responding to threats identified through such a process.
Activity 4: Improve the Ability to Respond to Incidents
Goal: Improve the power grid’s ability to predict, respond, and adapt to all hazards and threats by developing methodologies and frameworks that assess system degradation, advance utility preparations based on predictions, and transform the grid to keep operating during hazardous events.
Activity 5: Improve the Grid’s Recovery Capacity and Time
Goal: Maintain plans for grid resilience and the restoration of electric sector capabilities and services following an all-hazards event.