The Committee on the Future of the Electric Power System in the U.S., convened at the request of Congress and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, is undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of strategies for adopting new technologies, operating and planning approaches, business models, and grid architectures in the U.S. electric power system. The committee is also considering ways to improve the reliability, resiliency, and flexibility of the grid, with an emphasis on cybersecurity and affordability challenges.
To support its information gathering, the committee convened a workshop on November 1, 2019, titled Communications, Cyber Resilience, and the Future of the U.S. Electric Power System. More than 330 individuals registered for the workshop to share perspectives on key cybersecurity challenges to the nation’s electric grid and opportunities to address them. The workshop was the first of two events organized by the committee, with the second, held in February 2020, focused on models used for grid planning.
Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University, committee chair, welcomed participants to the workshop. Committee member Bill Sanders set the stage for the discussions with a brief synthesis of the current state of computing in the grid and a charge for participants: “What I hope you all will do today is to help us understand how to build a modernized grid, but a modernized grid that improves, not compromises, the resiliency and the cybersecurity of the grid,” Sanders said.
The workshop included six panel discussions featuring experts from industry, government, and academia, each followed by open discussions
among speakers, committee members, and workshop attendees. The agenda was designed to help the committee to synthesize current efforts, to increase the cyber resilience of the electric power system, and to explore fundamental tensions that underlie grid architecture and different computing and communication technologies and strategies, such as between simple and complex systems, or between compliance and preparedness. The field’s approach to these issues will shape the evolution and the security of electric power systems over the coming decades.
The workshop was unclassified and open to the public. This report offers a condensed summary of the proceedings based on recordings, slides, and transcripts from the workshop, which can be accessed on the study webpage at www.nas.edu/gridmod.