DOE announces $70m funding to safeguard US energy systems

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest $70m to reinforce the nation’s energy systems from online and physical threats.

Delivered through the All-Hazards Energy Resilience programme, the funding will support projects developing technologies that reduce risks to US energy systems posed by cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and weather events driven by climate change.

Managed by DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), the funding will be available to public and private sector stakeholders, universities, and DOE’s National Laboratories.

The funding will innovate solutions that increase the resiliency of the US energy systems, such as:

Commenting on the landmark funding opportunity, Jennifer Granholm, the US Secretary of Energy, said: “Making smart investments in America’s energy systems today is essential to ensure they’re more reliable and resilient against tomorrow’s threats while also reaching President Biden’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals.

“As we build our clean energy future, these investments will help save money in the long run by identifying and developing innovative solutions that ensure our nation’s energy infrastructure can withstand emerging threats and the challenges of a changing world.”

What projects are suitable for funding?

The initiative is poised to fund up to 25 Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) projects, each ranging from $500,000 to $5,000,000.

Emphasising inclusivity, DOE is urging participation from varied entities, including universities, nonprofit and for-profit companies, national laboratories, state and local governments, and Tribal Nations.

CESER invites applicants to develop innovative and adaptable solutions that diverge from conventional approaches. Awardees are encouraged to foster unique strategies, steering away from the conventional ‘one size fits all’ model.

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Energy systems targeted for innovation

There are multiple proposed project areas.

Cyber research and development

The ever-expanding digital realm poses heightened risks of cyber-attacks on energy systems. These projects aim to bolster cybersecurity measures and diminish threats to energy delivery infrastructure.

Climate mitigation research and development

Escalating extreme weather, rising temperatures, and sea level increments strain crucial energy infrastructure. These projects focus on devising and implementing innovative solutions to mitigate the impact of climate-related effects on energy transmission and bolster reliability.

Wildfire mitigation research and development

Wildfires wreak havoc on communities, ecosystems, and energy systems alike. These projects strive to identify strategies to fortify infrastructure against wildfires, enabling electric utilities to fortify resilience, sustain operations during extreme events, and expedite recovery.

Physical security research and development

Utility power stations encounter threats to physical security like vandalism, sabotage, and ballistic damage. Existing preventive measures, such as video surveillance systems, access control, and physical barriers, fail to minimise intrusions and damage. These projects aim to enhance current approaches.

University-based research and development

These projects aim to elevate the electric sector’s cyber and cyber-physical security status by integrating university-based research. Eligible applicants must be from Historically Black Colleges and Universities aligned with the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Project teams must comprise academic institutions alongside energy industry stakeholders or solution providers.

Applicants can visit here for more information, a full list of topic areas, and information on applying.

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