The research project »Innovations in System Management by 2030« (InnoSys 2030) is investigating novel approaches in system management for more efficient utilization of the power grid, including through the use of curative measures. Above all, this means that grid operation and grid management must become more automated and, consequently, connectivity through information and communication technologies (ICT) must be increased.
At this point, power grid operators face another important challenge: ICT security of the power grid. The cyber attacks on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 and 2016 highlighted the growing threats to the power grid as a critical infrastructure. Therefore, the Fraunhofer Center Digital Energy addresses this development by considering and implementing ICT security in InnoSys 2030 from the very beginning.
The concepts delevoped to strengthen ICT security in InnoSys 2030 were examined for potential weaknesses and new types of threats to reliable and secure system operation. The findings obtained in the course of the investigation form the basis for subsequent secure implementation of the concepts. These preventive measures were also supplemented by the development and evaluation of detection procedures for cyber attacks within the ICT network, where the incorporation of contextual knowledge proved particularly promising in order to be able to react quickly and in a targeted manner in the event of unavoidable security incidents in the future.
This security-by-design approach means that ICT security must be taken into account when developing new concepts in system management. Furthermore, it is imperative to continuously evaluate the interaction of the newly developed concepts with regard to ICT security and, if necessary, to tighten security measures at an early stage.
The assessments and practical evaluations yield important findings for the ICT security of future power grids. Future design and implementation decisions will have a significant influence on the ICT security of the resulting overall system. For this reason, it is essential that the topic of ICT security continues to be continuously taken into account in the development and implementation of new measures and concepts in order to be able to effectively strengthen power grids against the growing number of unknown threats.
The Fraunhofer Center Digital Energy will continue to provide trusted scientific support to the power grid operators in the implementation of the concepts, especially within the framework of the InnoSys 2030 advisory board.
Funding: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz