Blockchain project to test cybersecurity of distributed energy grid

September 27, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Blockchain project to test cybersecurity of distributed energy grid
Industrial blockchain cybersecurity platform startup Xage Security (Palo Alto, CA) and Commonwealth Edison (Chicago, IL), the largest electric utility in Illinois, have announced a partnership to demonstrate how blockchain technology can enhance the security and operational efficiency of electric systems as they integrate distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar, storage, energy efficiency, and demand management.

Blockchains - which use multiple servers that operate as decentralized record-keeping and verification systems - are seen as a promising solution for energy companies bringing more DER onto their systems and creating marketplaces offering an array of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and innovative energy services. Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) says it is investigating how blockchain technology can provide operational and security benefits while enabling the customers and communities it serves to realize their sustainability and resilience goals.

"The growth of DER provides many potential values to the distribution grid," says Dr. Amin Khodaei, chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Denver, and a ComEd partner on this demonstration project. "Advanced control and communications frameworks enabled through blockchain can help to further build the foundation for the decarbonized, digitalized, and decentralized grid while making it more resilient from a cybersecurity perspective."

Duncan Greatwood, CEO of Xage Security says, "Grid modernization needs to be implemented with sophisticated and comprehensive security solutions from the start. Cyberattacks are becoming more advanced and focused, bypassing network-level protection to target specific industrial control systems. Smart grid cybersecurity must protect every digital interaction."

ComEd will conduct the blockchain demonstration project at its Grid of the Future Lab. The company is using the state-of-the-art laboratory to refine and demonstrate the capabilities of emerging technologies and pilot projects, such as a microgrid it is building in the Bronzeville community on Chicago's South Side and other innovations focused on enhancing grid resilience and sustainability.

Xage Security

Related articles:
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Blockchain integrated into EV charging infrastructure
Renewable energy tech at cybersecurity risk, says report
Is your smart grid secured?
Blockchain IIoT security platform gets backing from GE, others

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