The Intersection of Cybersecurity and Energy Efficiency Highlighted in Newly Funded DOE Program
- April 8, 2019
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Amid the increasing digitization of utilities, data collection devices, and smart home products intended to increase efficiency on the consumer end, cybersecurity has been an area of rapidly growing focus in the industry. Many conferences, white papers, and initiatives have been pushing the need for broad cybersecurity in the energy sector, but recently the U.S. Department of Energy issued an announcement to fund a cybersecurity initiative specifically aimed at energy efficient manufacturing.
Specifically, DOE announced $70 million going for "a Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute to develop technologies that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation...focusing on early-stage research for advancing cybersecurity in energy efficient manufacturing." I found this focus on cybersecurity of energy efficient manufacturing particularly intriguing, though I wasn't exactly sure at first glance what it was meant to do. The press release from DOE notes, though, that manufacturers across industries (both energy technologies like EVs, solar panels, and wind turbines, as well as general manufacturing) who are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their processes can see 15% improvement simply by adopting automated controls and sensors. However, a large impediment to manufacturers making such changes appears to be the vulnerability across the supply chain that such digital tools can introduce-- both creating real cybersecurity threats and also scaring manufacturers off from adopting the technologies thanks to perceived cybersecurity threats.
According to Secretary of Energy Perry:
"Improved cybersecurity can reduce risks as well as catalyze adoption of more energy efficient technologies in the manufacturing industry. This Institute will conduct early-stage research to help U.S. manufacturers remain resilient and globally competitive against cyber attacks."
What do you make of this initiative-- is this type of funding overdue? Surprising to you? Going to make a difference? Share your thoughts in the comments below.