Fortnightly Magazine - January 2008

Cyber Attack! - Defining 'Critical Assets'

ERCOT utilities approach CIP compliance from varying perspectives

As proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., the new critical infrastructure protection (CIP) standards charge utilities with identifying their own critical assets and related cyber systems. This approach allows great flexibility for utilities to apply the CIP standards to their particular situations. This will help ensure that their efforts focus on securing critical assets, rather than on complying with an overly prescriptive set of mandates that might or might not yield a secure grid.

Cyber Attack! - Lessons Learned: Aurora Attack

Test gets major media hype, but SCADA vulnerabilities remain

A simulated attack, named the Aurora Generator Test, took place in March 2007 by researchers investigating supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system vulnerabilities at utility companies. The experiment involved hackers invading the plant’s control system to change the operating cycle of the generator.

Cyber Attack! - Smart-Grid Security

Intelligent power grids present vexing cyber security problems

In a world where streetlights can be used as a weapon, controlling local utility networks becomes more than just a matter of public convenience and necessity. It becomes a matter of public safety and even national security. And in that world, the idea of an inter-networked, automated distribution grid poses troubling questions about cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

California: Mandating Demand Response

California’s load-management experience argues for formal DR standards

California hopes to reap $3 billion in benefits from demand response over the next 20 years. Maximizing the potential may require the California Energy Commission to exert its statutory authority. CEC’s chair co-authors.

Duke's Fifth Fuel

Conservation investments benefit participants and non-participants alike

For-profit energy efficiency programs are coming. Duke Energy proposes to align the interests of shareholders and retail customers within an expanded least-cost approach. Convincing regulators will require taking a holistic view of the costs and benefits.