Grid Security

Our energy networks are vital infrastructure and their protection is no easy task. Ensuring stability in the grid and stable supply of power to customers is a key priority for Transmission Systems Operators (TSOs) and Distribution Systems Operators (DSOs). A blackout can have a severe knock-on effect that not only inconveniences many household customers, but can come at a significant cost to the economy and endanger lives.
How, then, as we develop the grid can we make sure it is more safe? The smart grid is in part designed to let TSOs and DSOs better monitor the grid and help nip any problems in the bud before they escalate. Integrating two-way communication systems at various points can help pinpoint and speed up repair of faults. It can also allow for better use of the available assets and generation capacity by managing loads and creating scalability.
However, with the added layers of technology into what is otherwise a very rudimentary system, we are also introducing vulnerabilities. Even without the smart grid implementations there are vulnerabilities in the network, however, with added complexity comes added risk which must be considered.
As we become more connected, so too does our exposure to cyber-crime increase. All industry stakeholders are in large part acutely aware of the risks. With the networks being of such vital and strategic importance, governments and other key stakeholders are sharing the burden of protecting the assets.
With cost-saving an important element of running businesses, however, there is a risk that corners will be cut in proper safety planning and auditing, allowing for vulnerabilities to be exploited easily. It is through the benefit of hindsight that we may discover some of the weak points only after they have been exploited, this is inevitable. It is therefore prudent not only to look at prevention, but also to have proper response systems in place to help contain and mitigate malicious activity.