Project “Architecture” as Part of the Initiative “Reference Architecture for Secure Smart Grids in Austria”
Project duration: 06/2015 – 11/2017
Funded by: Klima- und Energiefonds
Programme: Energieforschung (e!MISSION)
Call: Energieforschung 1. Ausschreibung 2014
Motivated by the need to efficiently integrate volatile energy sources, innovative smart grid technologies have been recently developed. This has led to a significant increase in the use of ICT technologies within the electrical power supply system. Formerly isolated components are now part of an extensive network with many actors and entry points. This situation introduces two major challenges: (i) the need for seamless interoperability, in order to ensure components function correctly as part of an overall complex system; and (ii) the importance of safety, security and privacy measures to protect the system from cyber-attacks and enhance end-user acceptance. Both of these issues need to be addressed early during the design phase of the smart grid, in order to ensure the sustainability and security of future energy supply.
Previous projects and pilot deployments in Europe and Austria have gone some of the way to address these challenges, but only provide partial solutions. Building on the results from these initiatives, it is now imperative that a holistic national smart grid reference architecture for Austria is created. Without embarking on this endeavour now, isolated and disjoint smart grid deployments will be established. A consistent reference architecture brings economic advantages when compared to stand-alone solutions, whose functionality and compatibility are often limited, requiring retro-fitting to function in a secure and interoperable way. Moreover, a holistic solution that offers security-by-design reduces the attack surface and thus the risk from cyber-attacks targeted, for example, at critical control elements. In this way, the availability of power supply can be ensured, which strengthens the competitive position of Austria as a business location and its leading role in the European smart grid market.
Therefore, the aim of the RASSA Architecture Project is to develop a consistent and unifying reference architecture for smart grids in Austria, and establish its acceptance among all relevant stakeholders such as grid operators, energy suppliers, regulators, and public authorities. Based on existing standards and concepts, including the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) developed by CEN-CENELEC-ETSI in terms of the M/490 EU mandate, the project will specify a reference architecture that can be used as a blueprint for practical smart grid implementation. By instantiating parts of the reference architecture, within the boundaries given by its parameters, secure and interoperable smart grid solutions can be developed in a straightforward and consistent way. The reference architecture will not be unnecessarily prescriptive, and we foresee there being sufficient degrees of freedom to allow grid operators and manufacturers to make their own decisions about how to instantiate different components. This will allow innovation to continue in this important and emerging market. The practical applicability of the reference architecture will be demonstrated in the areas of an innovative smart secondary substation and in the customer domain. This will be achieved by applying the conditions defined by the architecture to existing components that are provided by grid operators and manufacturers within the consortium. Special consideration will be given to customers, by designing and integrating privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) into the reference architecture.
A harmonised reference architecture for Austria, which is synchronised with the rest of Europe and further afield, will strengthen the competitiveness of Austrian companies and research organisations, by enhancing the Austrian market to become a pilot market with clear technical requirements.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided to us by the Klima- und Energiefonds and FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency) for the RASSA Architecture project within the programme “Energieforschung (e!MISSION)”.