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Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has announced awards totaling approximately $30 million for the development of new tools and technologies to help protect the nation's electric grid and oil and gas infrastructure from cyber attacks. Eleven projects have been selected for the awards.

With its support, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says energy sector organizations in California, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington will develop new systems, frameworks and services that advance the department's vision of more resilient energy delivery control systems.

"Keeping the nation's energy flowing is vital to the safety and well-being of Americans, our economic prosperity and modern society as a whole," says Moniz. "To meet the challenges of today's evolving cyber landscape, we must continue investing in innovative, state-of-the-art technologies."

Since 2010, the DOE says it has invested more than $100 million in cybersecurity research and development through awards and funding provided to industry, universities and national laboratories.

For example, the Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model, which was developed last year, allows electric utilities and grid operators to assess their cybersecurity capabilities and prioritize their actions and investments to improve cybersecurity. The DOE and energy industry stakeholders are also contributing to the development of the Cybersecurity Framework, which was announced as part of Executive Order 13636 on "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity."

The DOE says its cybersecurity efforts align with the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity, which was developed by the energy sector in coordination with the department. The roadmap outlines a strategic framework over the next decade to design, install, operate and maintain a resilient energy delivery system capable of surviving a cyber incident while sustaining critical functions.

The 11 projects selected for awards are as follows:

- ABB Inc., Cary, N.C.
DOE award: $2,765,733; Recipient contribution: $936,793
ABB will develop a system that allows substation devices to work together to validate the integrity of communications, such as commands to change a protective relay's configuration, and assess the potential impact on grid operations.

- Electric Power Research Institute Inc. (EPRI), Palo Alto, Calif.
DOE award: $1,524,959; Recipient contribution: $529,384
EPRI will develop a framework that allows utilities to centrally manage the remote configuration of their energy delivery system devices - regardless of vendor or age - more securely.

- TT Government Solutions Inc., Red Bank, N.J. 
DOE award: $956,560; Recipient contribution: $324,205
TT Government Solutions will develop a technology that analyzes and visualizes smart meter wireless communications to quickly detect unusual behavior that could suggest a cyber attack.

- Foxguard Solutions Inc., Christiansburg, Va.
DOE award: $3,298,893; Recipient contribution: $1,003,399
Foxguard will develop a service that allows utilities to simplify the process of keeping up to date with the most current firmware and software patches and updates.

- Georgia Tech Applied Research Corp., Atlanta
DOE award: $3,283,063; Recipient contribution: $1,726,000
Georgia Tech Applied Research will develop a technology that evaluates energy delivery system control commands to anticipate their impact on power grid operations and, if needed, implement cybersecurity responses to prevent disruptions.

- Grid Protection Alliance, Chattanooga, Tenn.
DOE award: $2,213,000; Recipient contribution: $637,000
The Grid Protection Alliance will develop an architecture that enables more secure substation communications for data generated by legacy or modern energy delivery devices.

- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Arlington, Va.
DOE award: $3,620,725; Recipient contribution: $1,137,367
The NRECA will develop a network that allows utilities and small electric cooperatives with limited resources to centrally manage their networks more securely.

- Viasat Inc., Carlsbad, Calif.
DOE award: $3,250,000; Recipient contribution: $3,301,163
Viasat will develop an architecture that gives utilities awareness of the status of their energy delivery systems' cybersecurity and allows them to automatically respond to cyber intrusions as predetermined in the utility's cybersecurity policy.

- Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc. (SEL) of Pullman, Wash. was given three separate awards.

1. DOE award: $2,094,599; Recipient contribution: $845,140
SEL will develop an integrated cyber-physical access control system that simplifies the process of managing access to energy delivery facilities.

2. DOE award: $3,771,371; Recipient contribution: $1,068,807
SEL will develop a radio platform for more secure "last mile" wireless communications used with remote energy delivery infrastructure, such as distribution substations.

3. DOE award: $3,892,170; Recipient contribution: $1,248,207
SEL will develop software that allows utilities to centrally manage their local area networks more securely, providing real-time awareness of cyber activity and rerouting network traffic in response to cyber intrusions.

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