The Department of Energy’s (DoE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) said it is rolling out three new research programs aimed at energy supply chain security, protecting infrastructure from electromagnetic (EMP) interference, and cybersecurity education.

On the supply chain security front, DoE CESER is partnering with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Cyber Testing for Resilient Industrial Control System program. The program uses analytics to test digital tools used by energy sector firms for security issues, and aims to make it “easier to identify and address potential vulnerabilities within control systems before bad actors can exploit them,” the agency said.

DoE said it is collaborating with many utilities and labs on efforts to test, model, and assess systemic vulnerabilities to EMP and geomagnetic (GMD) interference, and already has nine pilot projects underway as part of the agency’s Lab Call for EMP/GMD Assessments, Testing, and Mitigation. “This research will inform development of methods for protecting and mitigating impacts on energy infrastructure,” DoE said.

Finally, DoE CESER said it expects to announce next month a new funding opportunity to “support university-industry partnerships around cyber and physical solutions.” The aim of the effort is to tap into “the innovative capacity of American universities to develop new cybersecurity technologies and train the next generation of cybersecurity experts employed by the energy sector,” the agency said.

“Our energy system faces unprecedented threat levels from hackers, foreign actors, and natural catastrophes supercharged by climate change – which is why enhancing security is a priority for this administration,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “These new programs will help put us a step ahead of all manner of threats so we can provide safe, reliable power to American households,” she said.

Read More About
More Topics
John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.