- The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) said Wednesday it will issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for a manufacturing initiative focused on efficiency and cybersecurity.
- The FOA is expected out in the second quarter of 2019, and will be titled "Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute: Cybersecurity in Energy Efficient Manufacturing."
- This is the sixth institute DOE has established, the agency said, and continues its focus on helping manufacturers. The newest move aims to help develop technologies that will "advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation," the agency said.
There is room for improvement in the manufacturing sector, but DOE officials warn those advances come with vulnerabilities. New sensors and control technologies "present cyber vulnerabilities that must be addressed," DOE said.
The department's announcement "highlights the increasing importance cybersecurity plays in energy efficient manufacturing," Under Secretary for Energy Mark Menezes said in a statement. As the department tasked with overseeing security in the energy sector, it is "our job to make sure energy technologies across the board are best prepared against cyber threats," he added.
DOE said the new institute will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and expertise to the broader community of domestic manufacturers.
"The manufacturing sector can further improve its energy efficiency with new sensor and control technologies, but these technologies present cyber vulnerabilities that must be addressed," Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons said in a statement. The new innovation institute will "enhance the cybersecurity of energy-efficient manufacturing processes, accelerating the adoption of these technologies in the marketplace.”
DOE has previously focused on its relationship with manufacturers as an opportunity for improvements in efficiency.
Last year, DOE announced that its Better Buildings, Better Plants initiative has signed up a growing roster of companies chasing a voluntary goal to reduce their energy intensity by 25% across a 10-year program. The agency says it has over 200 partners in the Better Plants program, and estimated the goals saved 1.06 quadrillion BTUs of energy through the end of 2017.
Under the Trump administration, DOE has also grown its focus on cybersecurity. A year ago, the White House announced it would be establishing a new DOE office to focus on cybersecurity, energy security and emergency response.