Center to develop innovative cybersecurity best practices that will serve as model for deployment at other public & private utilities
NYPA’s Advanced Grid Laboratory for Energy to test cybersecurity solutions, pilot new systems
The New York Power Authority and Siemens Energy Inc. announced a new collaboration to develop an industrial cybersecurity Center of Excellence. The first-of-its-kind industrial cybersecurity monitoring, research and innovation center will focus on detecting and defending against cyberattacks on critical infrastructure owned and operated by NYPA, the largest state-owned electric utility in the nation. NYPA’s board of trustees approved the creation of the cybersecurity center at a meeting earlier this week.
“As we digitize every aspect of our generation and transmission operations, we need to be sure that our cybersecurity program is ironclad,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “This venture with Siemens enables both parties to bring their best thinking and experience to the table as we together test and develop state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions that meet our requirements and protect our assets now and well into the future.”
As part of the effort, NYPA’s Advanced Grid Laboratory for Energy (AGILe) and Siemens Energy will identify gaps in market-ready solutions and establish test bed and demonstration pilots using Siemens Energy technologies and processes, in both laboratory and real-world settings.
A press release said, “(The) announcement is the first step in bringing together a coalition of public sector, private industry and academic partnerships that will build core capabilities needed to identify new and existing cyber threats, adopt new technologies to protect digital infrastructure and close the industry’s talent-gap. Successful solutions have the potential to be deployed and commercialized at other public and private organizations that operate critical infrastructure systems in the state of New York and beyond.”
“Competitive enterprises in the coming century will require cybersecurity beyond what’s possible today,” said Kenneth Carnes, vice president and chief information security officer at NYPA. “Investing now in developing next-generation tools and techniques will reduce risks to enterprisewide critical infrastructure and protect ratepayers and citizens against costly security breaches in the future. Siemens Energy Inc. is an ideal counterpart for this effort, as a longstanding manufacturer of operating equipment and an industrial cybersecurity expert. We fully expect our collaboration to advance energy industry cybersecurity practices, to better secure NYPA sites, and to establish NYPA as an industry leader in best practice cybersecurity.”
A joint study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Siemens Energy that surveyed global energy industry executives on a wide range of threats, vulnerabilities and strategies required to protect oil and gas assets found strong consensus that the threat of cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure is worsening. The study found 67% of respondents believe the risk level to industrial control systems over the past few years has substantially increased because of cyber threats. Meanwhile, 61% of respondents said their organization’s industrial control systems protection and security was not adequate. The Center for Excellence will tackle these problems and put forth tested solutions aimed to help secure not only NYPA, but similar utilities.
“Utilities and energy companies often lack the technical means and expertise needed to detect and mitigate cyberthreats in an increasingly digitized and interconnected operating environment,” said Leo Simonovich, head of industrial cybersecurity at Siemens Energy. “To stay ahead of attackers and fully realize a new energy ecosystem based on digital technologies, we must deploy stronger cybersecurity solutions that are capable of defending critical infrastructure against increasingly sophisticated attacks. This collaboration is a significant and timely step in enabling solutions to protect our future energy system. Siemens Energy Inc. is proud to join with NYPA and their world-class AGILe Lab in this important research.”
The press release said, “Operational technology assets in the field today are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks as much of the energy industry’s critical infrastructure was engineered before the widespread digitization of industrial control systems. The center will take digitization into account, and research and development of new systems will address the digital systems that now are becoming more commonplace in the industry.”
For more information about the Cybersecurity Center for Excellence, visit the AGILe Lab page on NYPA’s website.
•About the Collaborators
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit‑miles of transmission lines, including approximately one‑third of New York’s high‑voltage power lines. More than 80% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. Located at NYPA’s White Plains Office, AGILe allows NYPA teams and external collaborators to evaluate the impact of new technologies on the bulk electric system before they are deployed on the grid. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information, visit www.nypa.gov.
Siemens Gas and Power GmbH & Co. KG is the global energy business of the Siemens group, which has been working with its customers on solutions for the evolving demands of industry and society for more than 150 years. With planned stock listing, Siemens’ energy business will operate independently as Siemens Energy in the future. It will offer broad expertise across the entire energy value chain, along with a comprehensive portfolio for utilities, independent power producers, transmission system operators, the oil and gas industry, and other energy-intensive industries. With its products, solutions, systems and services, Siemens Energy will address the extraction, processing and transport of oil and gas, as well as power and heat generation in central and distributed thermal power plants, and power transmission and technologies for the energy transformation, including storage and sector-coupling solutions. The majority stake in Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will round out its future-oriented portfolio. Visit www.siemens-energy.com.