The Recent Attacks on U.S. Nuclear Plants – Perspective for Your Environment

Throughout the first two weeks of July, news articles with sensational headlines warning of cyber attacks targeting nuclear plants were found throughout news outlets across the world. Keen readers may have noticed some parallels between those articles and the recent NERC Alert regarding the advanced persistent threat (APT) detected by the FBI and DHS—if you assumed both were describing the same threat, you were right.

So if the threats are credible, and they are in fact targeting nuclear plants on U.S. soil, why shouldn’t you be freaking out just yet?

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NERC Alert – Advanced Persistent Threat – Remediation Recommendations

When it rains, it pours—and its pouring in the cyber security world right now. Below is the first of many detailed cyber security recommendations and implementation guidelines we are releasing to help raise awareness, share information, and collectively improve our security posture as an interconnected grid. We are taking these threats seriously and we hope you are too.

An advanced persistent threat (APT) has been identified by the FBI and DHS, and documented in both a Joint Analysis Report (JAR) and the NERC Alert issued June 30, 2017.

Read the full post here.

NERC Alert – Crash Override – Challenging Beliefs

A NERC Alert issued June 13, 2017 advises on the Crash Override malware found to be behind the December 2016 attack on the Ukrainian power grid. While the NERC Alert provides many great details on the malware’s technical characteristics, the fact of the matter is Crash Override is among the most sophisticated ICS-specific malware variants ever detected, with the ability to “cause loss of visibility, loss of control, manipulation of control, interruption of communications, and deletion of local and networked critical configuration files.” Perhaps most concerning is the malware’s ability to be easily tailored to specific ICS environments, communication protocols, and devices.

This type of sophisticated malware forces us to rethink some common predisposed cybersecurity beliefs:

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Curtailment Mitigation Strategies
Curtailment Mitigation Strategies
June 14, 2017

Curtailment Mitigation Strategies

Curtailments and energy imbalances can be costly for any generator, whether you are a new market entrant, such as solar PV, or an industry veteran, such as hydro. Generators used to be able to set it and forget it when it comes to scheduling and operations. There may have been a rare occurrence when the CAISO instructed your generator to curtail through an exceptional dispatch. And the occasional forced outage was inevitable, but nothing to fret over. However, more recently, generators are experiencing frequent instances of curtailment, and greater imbalance uncertainty due to the more intermittent profile of the generation fleet and higher market price volatility.

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NERC Report on August 2016 Solar PV Disturbance

On June 8th, NERC issued a report that stemmed from a joint NERC/WECC investigation into the loss of solar generation that occurred on August 16, 2016 resulting from line faults due to a nearby wildfire. “By the end of the day, the SCE transmission system experienced thirteen 500 kV line faults and the LADWP system experienced two 287 kV faults … four of these fault events resulted in the loss of a significant amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation” including a “single loss of nearly 1,200MW.”

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GridSME Works To Enhance The Energy Storage Movement
GridSME Works to Enhance the Energy Storage Movement
June 6, 2017

GridSME Works to Enhance the Energy Storage Movement

GridSME is excited to work with many of the industry’s leading developers in the emerging energy storage space. Our team collaborates with clients on detailed analyses of standalone storage installations and combined “generation + storage” projects.

From a feasibility analysis perspective, GridSME evaluates the technical characteristics of an existing generation facility or proposed new facility to determine the optimal configuration and operation of integrating an energy storage resource. Additionally, GridSME evaluates the economic considerations and constraints associated with the facility, such as the PPA terms, interconnection requirements, and go-to-market considerations. We emphasize the need for developers to be cognizant of the technical and economic aspects of integrating energy storage with existing or new generation facilities (e.g., Solar/Wind + Storage).

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GridSME Welcomes Gary Brown, Principal Consultant, Grid Interconnections
GridSME Welcomes Gary Brown, Principal Consultant, Grid Interconnections
May 4, 2017

GridSME Welcomes Gary Brown, Principal Consultant, Grid Interconnections

Grid Subject Matter Experts is excited to announce its new addition to the team, Gary Brown, as a Principal Consultant specializing in Grid Interconnections. Gary has had a prosperous career, with over thirty-five years as a consulting engineer and project manager, coming from a variety of engineering firms, as well as the California Independent System Operator. He has held various engineering management responsibilities in the design and implementation of plant power and automation systems, renewable energy development, SCADA, security, and energy management for utilities, industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities.

At GridSME, Gary provides his expertise in areas of engineering, regulatory and contract support for new and existing generation resources and developers. He assists with consultation and engineering support for site assessments, interconnection requests and applications, review of system impact and facilities studies, as well as negotiation support for Generation Interconnection Agreements (GIAs), Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s), and various ISO’s and RTO’s Interconnection processes.

Please join us in welcoming Gary to our team!

You can view Gary’s full announcement here.

GridSME Welcomes Olu Fagbemiro And Linh Tu To Its Engineering Team
GridSME Welcomes Olu Fagbemiro and Linh Tu to its Engineering Team
March 16, 2017

GridSME Welcomes Olu Fagbemiro and Linh Tu to its Engineering Team

Olu FagbemiroLinh Tu

 

 

 

 

 

Grid Subject Matter Experts is pleased to welcome Olu Fagbemiro and Linh Tu to the engineering team. Both Olu and Linh have had great careers at Burns and McDonnell marketing, managing and executing transmission planning, generator and load interconnection, distribution planning, NERC Compliance and various power system studies. With their extensive backgrounds in power system consulting, Linh and Olu have developed a client-focused approach to delivering projects that exceed client expectations.

Olu and Linh will join Kevin Feusi and Nan Liu in expanding GridSME’s engineering team. This highly experienced engineering group is capable of managing sizable projects, assisting with client staff, and performing studies for transmission, generation and distribution projects.

Please join us in welcoming both Olu and Linh to the GridSME team!

You can view their full announcement here.