Tracy Warren, NRECA
Phone: (703) 907-5746
Mobile: (703) 517-3411
ARLINGTON, VA; May 16, 2011 – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today released to the industry and other stakeholders a set of practical tools that together comprise its new "Guide to Developing a Cyber Security and Risk Mitigation Plan." These practical tools – a guide, risk mitigation checklist and step-by-step plan template -- are already in use at the 23 co-ops participating in the Cooperative Research Network's (CRN's) regional smart grid demonstration project.
"Electric co-ops understand there is no such thing as absolute security – the environment is constantly changing,” said Martin Lowery, NRECA executive vice-president for external affairs. "With these new tools, cooperatives can start immediately to strengthen their security posture and chart a path of continuous improvement.”
The Guide, which includes a risk mitigation checklist and plan template, is already in use by the 23 cooperatives participating in NRECA's smart grid demonstration project. NRECA anticipates that cooperatives across the country will use the Guide, checklist and plan template. CRN has already received requests for the Guide from utilities in the U.S., as well as England, India and Italy. CRN partnered with the security consulting firm Cigital to develop the Guide.
The CRN project is funded partly by $33.9 million in Recovery Act stimulus funds awarded through a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) smart grid demonstration grant program. The Recovery Act (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) provided DOE with $4.5 billion to fund projects that modernize the nation's energy infrastructure and enhance energy independence.
"By developing a practical approach that can be easily implemented to address smart grid component procurements, deployment, and operational security, NRECA has provided a valuable tool,” said Lowery. "Cooperatives can begin tomorrow to become more secure than they are today.”
The Guide is comprised of a suite of documents, including the industry's first comprehensive map of distribution-level smart grid interfaces and a practical step-by-step risk mitigation checklist. The best practices and standards included in the Guide rely on the 600-page survey of standards and security considerations related to the smart grid developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST IR 7628).
"Our goal was to create digestible, actionable and practical guidance for electric utilities that would allow them to assess the existing maturity of their cyber security practices and related smart grid technologies and build a plan for continuous improvement,” said Craig Miller, project manager for the demonstration project.
NRECA is the national service organization for more than 900 rural electric utilities that provide electricity to approximately 42 million consumers in 47 states and sell approximately twelve percent of all electric energy sold in the United States. NRECA's Cooperative Research Network is a service provided by NRECA to members, whose mission is to monitor, evaluate and apply technologies that help electric cooperative utilities control costs, increase productivity, and enhance service to their consumer-members.