Innovations in renewable energy have rapidly transformed the global power landscape, but as the power grid becomes more integrated with renewable energy sources, an introspective review of how to deliver reliable and secure connections to the energy grid is required.
Understanding how these sources are vulnerable is just one step toward achieving a resilient cyber security posture. Another is ensuring compliance with existing and new regulations tied to cybersecurity deployment.
Why Your Renewable Facility Needs a Cybersecurity Program
While the renewable energy industry has exploded with new deployments over the past decade, one area that has been consistently overlooked is cybersecurity. This refers to processes, controls, and technologies designed to protect devices, networks, systems, and data from unauthorized access and attacks.
Assessing renewable energy facility cyber risk involves evaluating numerous layers including physical, logical, software, hardware, supply chain, and human to name a few. The potential consequences of a cyberattack on a renewable facility include financial losses, loss of data and visibility, damaged reputation, loss of opportunities, and increased costs (i.e. insurance premiums).
Going beyond that disturbing list is the regulatory requirements for cybersecurity protection. Specifically, most renewable facilities are now subject to NERC registration. This also means they are required to follow certain cybersecurity standards, such as having physical security of assets, firewalls, and system security controls in place. Failure to do these things could result in fines or other severe penalties.
The solution is to create a robust cybersecurity strategy that protects your organization from various risks. However, cybersecurity is a highly specialized and complex field. It’s not something you want to tackle on your own. Knowledge is power when it comes to managing risks and safeguarding your investment. A well-planned and managed cybersecurity deployment process can reduce your renewable facility’s risk of a cyber attack.
What Is Effective Cybersecurity Deployment for Renewable Facilities?
If you own or operate a renewable facility, you need more than just a few cybersecurity safeguards. You need a comprehensive and effective cybersecurity program that mitigates risk and keeps your facility safe from cyberattacks.
An effective cybersecurity deployment in a renewable energy installation is achieved with a comprehensive engagement that spans all three phases of the asset lifecycle.
- Design & Development
- Implementation & Construction
Numerous disciplines will be considered throughout each of these three phases to get the most efficient and cost-effective results. These critical disciplines include the following.
- Identity & Access
- Procurement & Inventory
- Asset Management
- Training & Engagement
In an upcoming series of posts, we will discuss the cybersecurity deployment process in regards to renewable energy facilities.
In the meantime, you should read our three-part series about the upcoming changes to NERC’s threshold for registration and regulatory compliance:
- Upcoming NERC Threshold Changes – Part One
- Upcoming NERC Threshold Changes – Part Two
- Upcoming NERC Threshold Changes – Part Three of Three
There is a chance that your facility could be affected by these changes, and you should reach out to Radian Generation if you need help ensuring that your facility remains compliant with NERC standards. Failure to comply with these standards could result in serious penalties for your business.