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"SPARKS" - ensuring a safe future

Succesfull completion of the EU project "SPARKS", providing solutions for smart grid protection against cyber attacks

To support the integration of renewable energy sources, the energy grid is being digitalized and transformed into the smart grid. New ICT systems are being introduced that enable the remote monitoring and control of field devices, such as photovoltaics and battery storage systems. This has a number of benefits, but introduces new cyber-security risks that need to addressed. For the last three years, developing new processes, guidelines and technologies to ensure the security and resilience of the future smart grid has been the focus of the EU-funded SPARKS project.

As the project draws to a close, it successfully navigated its final review by the European Commission on 4th July in Vienna. At the review, the major achievements from the project were presented and evaluated by a panel of experts. These achievements include approaches to assessing cyber-security risks to the smart grid; guidance on how to design and engineer secure smart grid architectures, and a set of novel technologies that are targeted at securing smart grids. The centrepiece of these technologies are integrated solutions that can be used to detect cyber-attacks to renewable energy sources and automatically mitigate their effects. This integrated solution was developed by partners from

  • Queen's University Belfast,
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology and
  • AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, and was demonstrated at the review in the AIT SmartEST laboratory.

The research that has been conducted in the SPARKS project will continue to be investigated in two new projects that are coordinated by AIT -- the ViruteGrid project, which is investigating the use of virtualization technology to ensure the security and resilience of smart grids, and the LarGo! project, which is investigating secure and resilient approaches to novel smart grid service deployment.

More details can be found on the SPARKS project website (https://project-sparks.eu) and a symposium that was organized by the project in March 2017(http://smartgrid-cybersecurity.events/).