Cyber-security smart-grid rules to be ‘freer’ in EU than US: ENISA

EU cyber security agency ENISA has urged authorities and stakeholders to co-ordinate their effort to improve smart-grid security, but recommended greater “freedom” than regulators have allowed in the US.

In a new report investigating the cyber-security challenges for smart grids in Europe, ENISA has proposed a number of security measures that could be “tailored and combined for the needs of different actors, given the varied market”.

As ENISA points out, that is in marked contrast to the “strict regulatory path” laid out in the US.

EU cyber security agency ENISA has urged authorities and stakeholders to co-ordinate their effort to improve smart-grid security, but recommended greater “freedom” than regulators have allowed in the US.

In a new report investigating the cyber-security challenges for smart grids in Europe, ENISA has proposed a number of security measures that could be “tailored and combined for the needs of different actors, given the varied market”.

As ENISA points out, that is in marked contrast to the “strict regulatory path” laid out in the US.

The agency says the adoption of a minimum set of security measures needs the consensus and cooperation of various smart-grid stakeholders, but that a coordinated initiative could give rise to a common and generally accepted approach to smart-grid security issues.

Among other proposals, its report recommends the adoption of minimum requirements for smart grids across EU member states, which could lead to lower operational costs, as well as a baseline for an auditable control framework across Europe.

ENISA also seeks to facilitate the preparedness, recovery, response measures and mutual aid of operators during a crisis.

“In order to reach the ambitious EU 2020 objectives – 20% of renewable energy, 20% of CO2 emissions reduction and 20% increase in energy efficiency – it is a key issue to ensure that the rollout of smart grids for distributed energy generation into the future electricity grid is done in a secure way,” said Professor Udo Helmbrecht, executive director of ENISA.

“Innovative technical solutions are required, along with new suitable EU regulatory and economic schemes,” he said. “We hope to see smart grids in the forthcoming Cyber Security Strategy of the EU.”