Sargent & Lundy

Challenges of Implementing Substation Hardware Upgrades for Enhanced Cybersecurity

Complying with NERC CIP Version 5


To minimize the vulnerability of the electric power grid to cyberattacks the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has enacted and enforced cybersecurity standards that continue to evolve as technology and the nature of these threats advance.  These Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards issued by NERC require utilities to meet an aggressive timeline for regulatory compliance. To supplement in-house resources, utilities rely on consultants and suppliers to meet NERC’s fast approaching deadlines, such as implementing the latest NERC CIP Version 5 (V5) standards. This paper discusses major design challenges faced when upgrading substation equipment for cybersecurity enhancements and, specifically, the hardware improvements implemented for the NERC CIP V5 conversions.

Index Terms – Communication system security, Communication networks, IP networks, Power system protection, Substation protection.

J. Matt Cole – Sargent & Lundy

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