Standards to address grid cybersecurity

Tuesday, 05 February, 2019

Standards to address grid cybersecurity

Standards Australia and Energy Networks Australia have released a Roadmap for Standards and Grid Cyber Security, which sets out a list of prioritised actions to guide grid cyber security in the future.

The energy and electrical sector in Australia is evolving with the rollout of new technology to traditional infrastructure. As explained by Standards Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans, “Developments in electrical storage, new types of generation and changes in consumer preferences are pushing the electricity sector to innovate.

“However, with these opportunities we are also presented with potential threats, with cybersecurity among the most complex challenges.”

As a result, the roadmap was produced from a discussion paper, a national forum and extensive stakeholder consultation bringing together industry, consumer representatives and government. Stakeholders identified the main areas of vulnerabilities for the grid as: structural change of the grid with greater interconnectivity; the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT); building management systems; increased convergence between operational technology and information technology; and the rise of cybercrime. They also agreed that internationally aligned cybersecurity standards for the energy grid are important for energy companies, consumers, retailers and the broader economy, and that these standards should be adopted in Australia as key resources supporting the transformation of the grid and cyber resilience.

Key outcomes of the roadmap include:

  • The proposed development of standards and similar documents to support grid cybersecurity in Australia, including workforce screening;
  • Australian participation on key international standards committees to enhance our voice in regards to grid cybersecurity; and
  • Ensuring the Australian Technical Committees developing the standards have the right membership and are operating with the most appropriate terms of reference.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said network businesses in Australia recognised the importance of cybersecurity to ensure the rapidly transforming energy system continued to deliver safe, reliable and efficient energy.

“Standards play a key role in supporting the connections between technologies, providing consistent frameworks for design and implementation,” he said. “Changes to Australian Standards can support the transformation of our energy network, and Energy Networks Australia remains committed to working with Standards Australia to ensure key areas such as cybersecurity are a part of this work.”

According to the final report from Standards Australia, the Grid Cyber Security Roadmap is an important part of the larger framework of the joint Electrical Network Transformation Roadmap between Energy Networks Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). It is “designed to identify the preferred transition which the electricity network industry must make in the next decade, to be ready to support better customer outcomes under a diverse range of long-term energy scenarios”, the report said.

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