Project Summary:

As modern electricity smart grids evolve, there is an increasing dependence on data that is transmitted and processed by ICT systems. New emerging services, such as the management and scheduling of Distributed Energy Resources (DER), Demand Response (DR), and so on, result in greatly increased connectivity linking smart meters in homes, distribution systems and generation. Such an environment provides new and widely spread entry points and a greatly increased attack surface from a cyber perspective. Consequently the core physical operation of the connected energy distribution system may be adversely effected from the cyber domain.

The increasing integration of renewables at the local distribution level has implications for stability in those sections of the grid. As a further example, when large clusters of electric vehicle (EV) charging points are connected at a local distribution level, there are implications for stability in terms of thermal overloads and voltage drops. Already schemes are being proposed for responding to locally heavy demands for EV charging. Where cyber threats emerge as a result of the aforementioned services, it is essential to understanding the cross-dependencies and cyber-physical interactions that can have physical impact on grid stability.

Current research on smart grid or related industrial control system security is often based solely on an analysis of ICT protocols or network layouts, and is strongly biased by cyber-security research in the ICT domain. This alone is insufficient to meet the security requirements of emerging and future smart grid functions, where responsive generation and load control mechanisms will be embedded across a diffuse grid infrastructure. Cyber-security approaches are needed that meet the complex concerns of the smart grid as a cyber-physical system in the face of cyber threats.

Contact Details:

Dr Kieran McLaughlin


Telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 1890