Energy Dept Spends $33M to Harden Grid Against Network, Kinetic Attack

The grants focus on improving grid resiliency during a cyberattack and speeding recovery.

The Energy Department announced a roughly $33 million investment Tuesday in seven projects aimed at securing the electric grid against cyberattacks, physical attacks and weather disasters.

The projects are designed both to make grid systems more secure against cyberattacks and to improve their ability to withstand a cyberattack, according to a department fact sheet.

One project, the Grid Resilience and Intelligence Platform, or GRIP, uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to help grid systems recover more quickly from cyber and physical destruction.

Another project aims to make grids more resilient against cyber and physical attacks by segmenting energy into various micro-grids, so un-compromised portions can pick up the slack for compromised ones.

Both those projects are funded at about $6 million over three years, though the final awards will depend on congressional appropriations. Total funding for the projects could climb to $50 million, the department said.

Read more: What It Would Really Take to Knock Out the Power Grid
See also: US Suspects Russian Hackers in Unprecedented Ukraine Blackout
Don't miss The Ukrainian Blackout and the Future of War

Funding for the projects comes from the Energy Department’s Grid Modernization Initiative and is distributed to various national labs and their private sector partners.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry praised the awards in a statement, saying “a resilient, reliable, and secure power grid is essential to the nation’s security, economy, and the vital services that Americans depend on every day.”