The Future of the Electric Grid

Dec 5, 2011

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The scale of investment required to improve cybersecurity [of the electric grid] is not insignificant. A 2011 EPRI report estimated that a $3.7 billion investment is needed for grid cybersecurity, although this amount is relatively low compared to its estimate of a net total investment over 20 years of between $338 and $476 billion needed to realize the benefits of the smart grid. But as GAO points out in a 2007 report, it is difficult to make the business case for investing in critical infrastructure cybersecurity because the probability of a serious event is still very low and the consequences are so difficult to quantify.

The lack of a business case to invest in cybersecurity doesn't leave me with a warm comfortable feeling. The amount planned for cyber security is only about 1% of the investment costs for the smart grid. If the electric grid goes down, pretty much everyone's networks will go down shortly.

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