The energy system is in transition, in response to economic and ecological challenges, and employing technical developments. Renewable energy technologies are being added to our energy supply. The new energy infrastructure is multi-layered, multi-sectoral, and deeply socio-technical: human factors are an essential component in the effectiveness of the technology, and institutions need to be in place to balance different goals and stakes, and to regulate interactions between the different actors involved. The emerging new energy systems involves new roles, stakeholders, products, services. For example, households turn from mere consumers into producers of energy (through solar, wind), and of new commodities: data and flexibility. This may lead to data management and flexibility aggregator services as new actors in the energy system.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an important enabler for the operation and control of the new energy system. But the dependence on ICT also makes it susceptible for cybersecurity issues, and security issues that arise in the interaction between the cyber layer and the physical, institutional and human layers of the system. These vulnerabilities need to be addressed from an integrated engineering systems perspective, in particular a systems-of-systems view across sectors and national borders, linked with policy, law and economics.
In the KID project, the aim has been to make an inventory of the novel vulnerabilities that arise, and the changes is risk management that are required by the transition from traditional distribution grids to smart distribution grids.
The project captured its research in four core research questions:
- To give an operational definition of smart distribution grids, with an inventory of goals, functionalities, actors and values affected.
- What are novel technical, institutional and human vulnerabilities that arise in the (near future) smart grids?
- Which risk management strategies should be used to address these novel vulnerabilities, in particular those related to ICT?
- What is the gap between current academic research and practical knowledge needs?