Collaborative efforts of WVU engineer aims to increase the resiliency of the power grid against cyberattacks
As attacks on the United States power grid continue to grow in complexity and sophistication, a professor at West Virginia University is determined to find a solution.
Story by Brittany Furbee, Communications Specialist
Photos by Paige Nesbit, Director of Marketing
Anurag Srivastava, professor and chair of the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, was awarded $305,250 from the United States Department of Energy to collaborate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop an Efficient UltRa Endpoint IoT-enabled Coordinated Architecture (EUREICA), a project that aims to increase the resiliency of the power grid against cyberattacks with increasing number of IoT based distributed resources.
“The power grid has evolved from a physical system to a cyber-physical smart-grid system,” explained Srivastava. “The cyber-physical nature of the smart grid has made it necessary to study the power system's exposure to risks and vulnerabilities from these inter-dependent systems.”
The need for increased security measures is due in part to the growing popularity and use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. IoT’s are physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet. This can include small household items connected to the electric grid such as smart thermostats, to sophisticated industrial power electronics. Experts believe there are currently more than 13 billion IoT devices in existence and that number is expected to double within the next five years.
As the U.S. power grid becomes more dynamic through the implementation of smart technologies like IoT’s, it also becomes more susceptible to cyberattacks. Srivastava’s research aims to study the power system’s exposure to risk and vulnerabilities and to define and measure resiliency to support situational awareness and decision making in the event of a cyberattack, while preserving privacy of IoT devices.
“With integrated communication technologies, IoT devices at the edge in the EUREICA framework will enhance the amount of data coming from the end point of any microgrid system,” explained Srivastava. “Incorporation of this data and further development of resiliency calculation tools will result in more accurate cyber and physical control actions by the operator to drive the grid towards more resilient states."
The practical implications of this research will be to enhance the security of microgrids, such as the ones found at military facilities.
“We are very excited to work on this project of national importance to help make our electric grid more cyber secure and resilient with increasing IoT devices,” Srivastava said.
In addition to working with MIT, WVU will collaborate with Princeton University, the Pacific Northwest National Lab and the National Renewable Energy Lab to deliver EUREICA in the fall of 2023.
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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