Cybersecurity in Photovoltaic Plant Operations   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Introduction: "Historically, the centralized power plants and vertically integrated utilities that comprised the electric grid had dedicated control systems and communications methods that allowed for remote operation and maintenance to occur without much regard or concern to cybersecurity risks. Photovoltaic (PV) systems, however, increasingly rely on common information technology (IT) computing and networking infrastructure as well as the Internet to perform all aspects of operation and maintenance, including but not limited to revenue metering, monitoring of condition, remote diagnostics, aggregation in virtual power plants, and control of grid support features such as curtailment and control of reactive power (Teymouri, Mehrizi-Sani, and Liu 2019). The transition of PV plant operations to an Internet-based world introduces many new security threats to the electric grid--including stealing or rerouting funds; denial of service; breaching confidential or proprietary information from a company, its customers, its suppliers; ransomware that denies operation of automated equipment for payment; and malicious control actions that could damage equipment and endanger personnel. Hackers intercept sensor control communications or use phishing and spoofing to obtain initial access and then use sophisticated means to escalate their access privileges for profit or to wreak havoc. Damage is not limited to interruption in operations or even plant equipment; it could extend to the electric grid, which was not originally designed for variable generation and bidirectional power flow. The sophistication and resources available to an attacker have also evolved to include advanced and persistent threats. [...] This paper examines cybersecurity from the perspective of the PV plant operator, compliance with adherence to standards, roles and responsibilities, best practices, and strategies to deal with an ever-evolving threat landscape."

Report Number:
Technical Report No. NREL/TP-5D00-78755; Technical Report No. National Renewable Energy Laboratory/Technical Paper-5D00-78755
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federal Depository Library Program Electronic Collection Archive: https://permanent.fdlp.gov/
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