Protecting the Nation’s Electric Grid from Cyber Threats

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Protecting the electric system from cyber threats and ensuring its resilience are vital to our national security and economic well-being.  This is exactly why cybersecurity is one of four key themes in the White House’s Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid. For obvious reasons, the private sector shares our interest in a safe and secure electric grid. The Administration has benefited from working closely with industry, including to develop the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity, released by the Department of Energy last September.

To continue that close cooperation, last week Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman and I, along with senior officials from Department of Homeland Security, hosted industry leaders to discuss a new initiative to further protect the electric grid from cyber risks. This initiative — the Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Maturity Model Pilot — is a new White House initiative led by the Department of Energy, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, to develop a model to help us identify how secure the electric grid is from cyber threats and test that model with participating utilities. Gaining knowledge about strengths and remaining gaps across the grid will better inform investment planning and research and development, and enhance our public-private partnership efforts.

I was encouraged to see an impressive number of electric sector leaders participating and sharing their views with us. Their high level of interest in this new effort reaffirmed for me that these stakeholders share our desire to better understand the strengths and remaining gaps across the sector, so that together we can continue to take concrete steps to protect the electric grid from cyber threats.

We look forward to continued cooperation with our partners in industry to ensure this initiative builds on industry efforts and becomes a meaningful tool to create a modern, secure electric grid that carries us through the 21st century.

Howard A. Schmidt is the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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