US microgrid control system secures military approval

Camp Smith microgrid control system tested
The Department of Defence tested IPERC’s microgrid control system at Camp Smith in Hawaii

In the US, the Department of Defence has awarded a microgrid control system a platform IT risk approval, pre-approving it for rollout across military facilities.

Intelligent Power & Energy Research Corporation (IPERC) announced this week that its GridMaster control system was tested at Camp Smith in Hawaii and has secured the Department of Defence’s first accreditation to date of a microgrid control system, reports Homeland Security Today.

The approval indicates that during a catastrophic event, the GridMaster system will continue to operate and remain fully functional.

The GridMaster system underwent testing by several Department of Defence and multi-agency teams, including the Joint Vulnerability Assessment Branch of the Army Research Laboratory Unique Mission Cell, members of Pacific Command and Northern Command, and a Navy validation team, led by Lou DiFilippo, Information System Security Manager at Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Headquarters.

GridMaster’s accreditation required compliance with DoD 8500-series and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-series cybersecurity, smart grid, and Risk Management Framework (RMF). The GridMaster also meets all NERC CIP v5 and ANSI/ISA 62443 standards.

The PRA issued to IPERC grants formal authorisation to operate at Camp Smith, and constitutes a general type accreditation, which pre-approves the IPERC microgrid control system for use at all organizations and services within the DoD, reports the trade magazine.

Microgrid control system for utilities

Dr. Darrell Massie, CEO of IPERC, said the accreditation will “provide commercial microgrid integrators, and customers such as utilities and municipalities, a high level of confidence that a GridMaster-controlled microgrid will exceed their requirements for information assurance and cybersecurity.”

Mr Massie said: “IPERC sees this technology being adopted on a broader scale as the market begins to adopt a more distributed energy strategy and more frequent grid outages occur.

“Hastening the adoption is the ongoing fear of a cyber attack on grid infrastructure.”

He added: “With an aging infrastructure in the US, utilities, municipalities and sensitive organizations (e.g. hospitals, food storage, Federal Emergency Management Agency, drinking water facilities, etc.) are moving to implement strategies such as this over the next 2-5 years.”

On the subject of hackers becoming more sophisticated, the company said the IPERC has a strategy in place to continue to adapt, reports Homeland Security.