A European cybersecurity pact has been agreed that is intended to make “the tools of the energy transition safe for citizens and secure for providers”.
The tools concerned are “the data generated and needed by the smart grid system that will allow for the real evolution of electric services at the advantage of customers”.
At a high-level technical workshop in Brussels yesterday, the European Distribution System Operators’ Association for Smart Grids (EDSO) and the European Network for Cyber Security (ENCS) agreed to jointly take active cybersecurity leadership in the energy sector.
“The challenge for all of us will be defining a socially responsible digitalisation in our sectors. Cybersecurity and hence the derived ‘digital safety’ become a new civil right for the citizens,” said Roberto Zangrandi, Secretary General of EDSO.
And ENCS managing director Anjos Nijk said: “Smart grids create a host of opportunities for network operators, but unless we’re careful, the same will be true for hackers. Protecting our infrastructure and the people who use it will depend on openness and collaboration.”
EDSO and ENCS agreed that they would take responsibility for grid security requirements and testing, and assuring that certification delivers an improved level of grid security; Provide dedicated security training and exercises, and to develop and expand this training portfolio in line with threat landscape developments; and establish a research agenda covering the needs and priorities of European DSOs.
Yesterday’s event showed how the growing responsibilities of DSOs go hand-in-hand with the increased focus on consumers in the energy transition. Zangrandi said that “trends such as the increase of distributed generation and renewables, enhanced ICT capabilities for operation and management, changing dynamics inherent in the shift to decarbonized transport and the evolution of prosumers all make this transition difficult to navigate”.
“While smart grids promise to help DSOs to meet these challenges, they also increase exposure to cyber security risks.”
At the workshop, MEP Peter Kouroumbashev highlighted current legislative developments, for example the Cybersecurity Act and Public Sector Information Directive. He called for stronger European cooperation and added that specific consideration should be given to critical infrastructure, specifically operators of essential services that are subject to a variety of threats.
ENCS managing director Anjos Nijk and EDSO Secretary General Roberto Zangrandi will both be speaking at European Utility Week in Vienna next month. Click here now to register.