The success of the energy transition requires an unprecedented flexibility of system components and endpoints throughout the energy grid down to the distribution grid level. The coordination of this highly distributed system will likely be impractical without (cost-)efficient information and communication technology. This introduces often-cited security issues into the critical infrastructure. At the same time, more connectivity and more complex software and hardware provides a significant increase in attack surface and exposure. However, in practice and in academia, many effective defense mechanisms, attack detections and protection approaches already exist, but their correct and careful implementation is often considered as too costly. The cybersecurity research groups at the Energy Lab 2.0 are therefore developing and searching for particularly simple and efficient ways to implement more security for the energy systems of the future.
The Security Lab Energy, located in the SEnSSiCC building, serves as an experimental platform for cyber-attacks and defense strategies. The lab is used to recreate threats without the risk of real physical damage in a controller-in-the-loop scenario. To do this, the physical components (wind turbine, solar array, battery storage, variable voltage regulating transformer, and protection equipment) are simulated using real-time models. Only the control systems required for security studies are operated in the real world. After the damage potential is sufficiently understood, the goal is to emulate and successfully defend against cyberattacks within the other Energy Lab 2.0 facilities, too. In this way, defense measures are being researched in increasingly realistic environments and can serve as a role model for energy system operators.