The Case for Gridmetrics, SAGA and Grid Cybersecurity

Scott Caruso
VP Strategic Ventures

Oct 31, 2019

Today, the electrical grid is essentially blind. Particularly, in the distribution portion (think the last mile to your home). For all the talk of sensors and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), there’s a distinct lack of visibility into the status of power availability and quality in the last miles of the electrical distribution grid. (Note that nearly 90 percent of all outages occur in the distribution grid.) Want proof? Just ask utilities how they identify outages. Many will say their number one source is the crowd—yup, phone calls, texts, tweets and so on.

Now, imagine a grid of sensors across the Unites States that live on the last mile of the electrical grid and are connected via a private, high-speed, low-latency network. All of those sensors could be sending data regularly to an aggregation point that provides near real-time insight into the availability and quality of power. That’s what the GridmetricsTM project at CableLabs® does.

What could one do with this big-data set? One application we’re pursuing with our partners at National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) is a collaborative R&D project called Situational Awareness of Grid Anomalies (SAGA), sponsored by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER).

We believe there are many use cases for this type of data. In addition to receiving the DOE award related to grid cybersecurity, we’re working on multiple Gridmetrics pilot opportunities across multiple sectors: power utilities, public safety, insurance and smart cities. For power utilities in particular, we’re engaging innovative utility partners to ingest and activate our dataset for myriad use cases, including outage detection/management, mutual assistance resource acquisition, grid safety and power trading, to name a few.

There’s no use case more important than helping to ensure the security of our electrical grid. We’re pleased to be working with our cable operator members and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop the analytics, insights and tools to identify and visualize anomalies on the nation’s electrical distribution grid.

Click below to read more about the SAGA program from NREL.

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