Hands at a laptop, with an abstract cybersecurity overlay.
Hands at a laptop, with an abstract cybersecurity overlay.
Hands at a laptop, with an abstract cybersecurity overlay.

US report: cybersecurity growing concern for wind power

Wind energy-specific cybersecurity research and development is critical to protect US wind power assets from cyberthreats, according to a fresh report backed by the US Department of Energy.

According to the document, the remote and distributed nature of wind turbines makes communications critical for control and maintenance and vulnerable to cyberattacks. Adding to the vulnerability is the fact that multiple entities can control and collect data from wind farms remotely, which provides more ways to infiltrate the system during a cyberattack.

“For existing wind power system owners and operators, it’s important to implement basic cybersecurity best practices right away and ensure safe and efficient response and recovery from a cyberattack,” says Megan Egan, control systems cybersecurity analyst at the Idaho National Laboratory, who contributed to the research.

Specific concerns for offshore wind

Researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory have identified “specific challenges for cybersecurity” related to offshore wind turbines. According to them, offshore installations are even more vulnerable, since they rely even more heavily on remote communications links than their onshore equivalents.

More research in wind power cybersecurity

The document points out that wind power plant operators often lack the information needed to both assess cyber risks and invest in a broad range of cybersecurity technologies. Relevant technologies include encryption capabilities, access control, intrusion detection systems, security information and event management tools, as well as other software and hardware technologies. The report goes on to say that as the share of wind power continues increasing in the United States (it was a 9.2% in 2021), efforts in keeping these installations secure will need to increase accordingly.