Cybersecurity Risks of Dynamic, Two-way Distributed Electricity Markets

The electric grid is being transformed from a one-way channel delivering electricity from centralized power plants to customers at set prices, to a distributed grid with two-way flows of information and electricity. States such as California and New York are developing plans for dynamic markets with frequent transactions that could eventually include individual households or small businesses with rooftop solar power or demand response to sell.

However, these markets could provide opportunities for malicious or criminal activity, or inadvertent actions that create significant cybersecurity risks. There are potential opportunities for bad actors to manipulate markets or gather private information, in addition to doing physical harm to the cyberinfrastructure and the electric grid. This project examines the trade-off between the economic benefits provided by highly decentralized electricity markets and the security and privacy risks they could create.

Funded by: the National Science Foundation.

Participating faculty: Steven Chapin, Jason Dedrick, Keli Perrin, Peter Wilcoxen. Graduate students: Kyle Crichton, Vahid Khatami, Bo Zheng