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Guardtime, the blockchain technology company which created keyless signature infrastructure (KSI), is working with United States Department of Energy (DOE), Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL), Siemens and others, to secure distributed energy resources at the grid's edge.

Other institutions and bodies involved include Washington State University, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the Department of Defense Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC). The cybersecurity technology will increase the trustworthiness and integrity of complex energy exchanges, Guardtime said a statement.

The multi-million dollar award is designed to protect the nation's energy infrastructure from emerging cyber threats and enhance the reliability and resilience of critical energy infrastructure through innovative, scaleable, and cost-effective research and development of cybersecurity solutions and operational capabilities.

As we modernise our energy infrastructure, the speed, size and complexity of energy data and transactions exchanged increases exponentially, noted Michael Mylrea, PNNL's primary investigator for the project. To help overcome these challenges, blockchain keyless signature infrastructure technology provides a unique value proposition in its potential to help optimise and secure these critical data sets.

Guardtime CTO Matthew Johnson said: "We are excited with this multi-year effort with PNNL to realize the potential of our technology in context of some of our nation's most critical infrastructure protection challenges including the continuous cyber monitoring solutions to shrink incident response dwell times."

Randy Bishop, Infrastructure Protection Solutions at Guardtime said "core to our production capabilities in blockchain include dynamic and aggregate utility service attestation. We are excited with these projects and aim to ensure providers have new robust tools - indeed a scaleable platform to optimize their own service delivery schedules with more exact understanding in customer delivery, consumption, and incident remediation".

The DOE award is intended to address numerous challenges in modern Energy Delivery Systems with a goal to increase the trustworthiness, integrity, control and security as well as automating, monitoring and auditing of complex energy exchanges at the grid's edge. This means:

  • Real time response to unauthorised attempts to change critical EDS data, configurations, applications, and network appliance and sensor infrastructure.
  • Autonomous detection of data anomalies and reduces burden with normalised evidence across a unified timeline for incident analysis.
  • A data exchange platform using smart contracts for the automated trading and settlement of contracts in the electricity production value chain.

Mike Gault, CEO of Guardtime, said "We are thrilled to work with PNNL to develop a cyber resilient energy transmission network. In order achieve grid modernisation we need to secure the foundations of energy transmission and the integrity of edge devices.

"With Guardtime's distributed and cryptographically sound integrity solutions combined with PNNL's next generation transactional energy delivery infrastructure we enable next generation security and integrity while allowing for increased efficiency and reliability for both energy users and energy producers.

"Guardtime's KSI blockchain represents a completely new approach, one that relies not on secrets but on the immutable verification of the supply chain of software, configurations that make up a network"