As America looks for opportunities to manage its energy demand, there is a growing consensus among federal and state policymakers, business leaders, and utility operators that smart grid technology can help manage the overtaxed and brittle national energy infrastructure. Yet security experts caution that with the smart grid’s opportunities come challenges. Extending smart technology to the electric grid will expose new cyber challenges that could put the nation’s energy sector – an engine of the U.S economy and cornerstone of everyday life – at greater risk of accidental disruptions or sabotage by terrorist organizations and cyber criminals. The U.S. government must develop strategies that promote smart grid deployment while protecting the electric grid from destructive cyber events.
This roundtable discussion, led by Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Vice President and Director of Studies Dr. Kristin Lord and Fellow Christine Parthemore, was part of the CNAS cyber security project. It brought together a select group of stakeholders from government, business, and policy organizations to discuss the risks and reward of smart grid technology and implications for U.S. policy.