Duke Energy, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, Battery Innovation Center to explore ways to make microgrids more secure
Duke Energy contributes $500,000 to fund project
PLAINFIELD, Ind. – As microgrids become increasingly popular, Duke Energy, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), and the Battery Innovation Center (BIC) are exploring ways to protect this new power delivery technology against ever-increasing cybersecurity threats.
Microgrids are mini-versions of the much larger electric grid, but are usually smarter and more efficient. They typically serve a small geographic area such as a college campus or a downtown area and often incorporate renewable resources like solar and wind power.
Duke Energy is contributing $500,000 to the BIC to purchase cyber lab infrastructure comprising hardware assets, security protocols, and other associated control security infrastructure. The disbursement of these funds fulfills part of a settlement agreement reached last September between Duke Energy, the OUCC, and other groups regarding the company’s Edwardsport plant.
“Microgrids present unique security challenges that need specific tools to guard against threats,” said Rob Caldwell, Duke Energy senior vice president and president of Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy. “The BIC is already well-known as a microgrid test facility. We are pleased to partner with them in this research project.”
The testing protocols will include identifying threats to microgrids, creating plans to resist and react to those threats, and finding ways to counter multiple threats.
“Addressing the security needs of the grid and associated infrastructure is critical to the reliability of these assets,” said Ben Wrightsman, chief operations officer for the BIC. “We are not immune to the same threats that have happened to several power networks around the globe, and it is important we have proper measures in place.”
“Cybersecurity and energy storage are both critical components in ensuring access to safe, reliable power in the future for all consumers,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. “As the BIC continues to do important research for the benefit of all Hoosiers, the OUCC is pleased to see this partnership continue.”
This latest funding is in addition to an earlier $1 million Duke Energy grant to the BIC for energy storage research, under the terms of a previous settlement agreement among Duke Energy, the OUCC, and other parties in regard to the development of the Edwardsport plant.
The Battery Innovation Center’s (BIC’s) mission as a unique, non-profit, public-private entity is to rapidly develop, test, and help commercialize the next generation of energy systems that are safe, reliable, and lower cost with partners from industry, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and academia.
Since opening in 2013, the BIC continues to focus on accelerating innovation in the field of battery technology by providing a single point of access for battery research, development, certification, testing and commercialization.
Located adjacent to Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane (NSWC Crane), the BIC’s unique capabilities, partnerships, and facilities allow both commercial and defense customers a mechanism through which they can test, validate, certify, and commercialize their energy storage products in a state-of-the-art, $15.6 million energy research lab.
The BIC is also home to Underwriters Laboratories’ Battery and Energy Storage Technology Test Center. The UL BEST test center is a one-stop facility for testing and certification of energy storage systems.
Duke Energy Indiana
Duke Energy Indiana’s operations provide about 7,100 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 810,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it the state’s largest electric supplier.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is an S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.
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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.
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Battery Innovation Center: Ben Wrightsman, 812.863.2424
Duke Energy: Lew Middleton, 317.838.1505
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor: Anthony Swinger, 317.233.2747