- The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday announced $8.8 million in research and development funding for 15 projects focused on developing innovative technologies that can help improve fossil fuel-based generation.
- Several of the projects focus on cybersecurity, aiming to make power plants more resilient, secure and able to respond rapidly to threats.
- Among the projects, Siemens will receive $250,000 from DOE to develop a new technology framework that connects sensors within fossil fuel power plants with cyber-physical security solutions.
With cybersecurity a major concern across all segments of the power sector, the federal government is backing research to better protect fossil fuel power plants.
The 15 projects will receive funding through the DOE Office of Fossil Energy’s Crosscutting Technology Research Program, which fosters innovative research into sensors and controls, modeling and simulation, high-performance materials and water management.
DOE in late May issued a report outlining several "capability gaps" in the nation's power sector security, including: cyber situational awareness and incident Impact analysis, and cybersecurity integration into state energy assurance planning. Among the other cybersecurity projects in Monday's funding announcement, the Electric Power Research Institute will develop a framework that identifies technologies, programs, and processes, to detect and achieve threat resilience.
General Electric will study how to turn distributed sensing nodes and communication and control infrastructures into monitoring and control systems. In addition, Southern Company will implement a real-time monitoring and analysis system aimed at identifying, predicting and responding to anomalies.
Each of the cyber-related projects will receive approximately $250,000 in funding from DOE.
Other areas of funding include the development of computational tools for advanced manufacturing of fossil fuel-based energy technologies and improvements to coal-combustion plants, including a focus on water management.
In recognition of the growing cyber threat to the nation's power grid, earlier this year, the Trump administration announced it would establish the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response will be headed by an Assistant Secretary who will focus on energy infrastructure security.