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Digitalization of Power Systems – Vulnerability and Resilience. Final report of the research project ”Strom-Resilienz”

Digitalization of Power Systems – Vulnerability and Resilience. Final report of the research project ”Strom-Resilienz”

by Mariela Tapia, Ecuador (EUREC 2013-14) et al.

With the increasing convergence of information and communication technologies (ICT), the power system has evolved into a large and complex cyber-physical power system, which has brought opportunities to enhance its performance and efficiency. However, at the same time this extended interconnection and interdependency add new vulnerabilities and access points for cyber-attacks, which could threaten the reliability of power systems. Previous events have highlighted the vulnerability of highly complex power systems to cyber-attacks, such as the incidents in Ukraine that led to temporary regional power outages in 2015 and 2016.

What are the critical properties, structures and elements that make the power grid vulnerable to cyber-attacks? And how can future power systems be designed so that they are better prepared for perturbations from the ICT domain and can reliably cope with and recover from them?

These questions were addressed in the framework of the research project ”Strom-Resilienz” developed by the department ‘Resilient Energy System’ from the University of Bremen in cooperation with the Institute for Ecological Economy Research. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the program Innovation and Technology Analysis (ITA).

The department ‘Resilient Energy System’ was in charge of: (i) performing a vulnerability assessment using an interdisciplinary approach that involved actors from the energy and IT sector through interviews and workshops, and (ii) designing a resilience strategy that aimed at building capacities to improve cyber-physical power system capacity to deal with known and unknown stressors.

The final project report in German can be found here. An English version will come soon.

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