White House officials unveiled a series of initiatives designed to help implement information technology to the national power grid to make it smarter, more efficient and secure.
The National Science Technology Council outlined its plans to modernize the power grid in rural areas and to create a smart grid innovation hub in a report titled "Building the 21st Century Grid" released June 13. The hub will be a collaboration of federal researchers, companies and utility executives and will support research, development and deployments of smart grid technology.
The Obama administration has particularly emphasized grid security issues. The modernization of the power grid will allow operators to have access to information about threats to the power grid, help companies deliver new security tools and create security standards.
"The United States needs a more reliable energy system to manage stresses on the grid, such as outages and peak-time demand," John Holdren, the director of the White House Office and Science Technology Policy, said at a press conference.
The project announcements are timely, considering the latest report on cyber-threats facing utilities and power generation companies from PwC, also released June 13. Several multinational energy companies recently suffered security breaches long before the victims became aware that their systems had been compromised, the report found. It was a situation of "not knowing until it was too late," the authors wrote.