What Is the Price of Smart Grid Security

Analyst Blog

Nov. 29, 2011, 7 a.m.
Joshua Flood, Senior Analyst

Smart grid security technologies are growing. The technologies saw an estimated $590 million in spending in 2010; by 2016, that number is projected to surpass $2 billion. Smart grid security covers identity management and access controls, threat and theft defense, industrial control system security, smart grid cellular communications, security monitoring and management, physical safety and security, utility regulatory compliance, and smart grid security maintenance.

Security spending on transmission upgrades made up the largest portion of smart grid spending. It accounted for approximately 54% of the 2011 total and is predicted to remain the largest portion for the next five years. Additionally, significant security spending on substation and distribution automation is forecast over the next few years.

Out of all of the smart grid segments, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are projected to see the highest security growth rates, increasing from $6 million in 2011 to $150 million by 2016. The issues that EV charging stations have faced, such as data protection and tampering with the charging stations, are similar to the ones faced by smart meters. The most significant areas of development in the security arena will be EV authentication of vehicles and physical security features.

The last two to three years have seen an enormous focus on smart grid security. In addition to providing security protection against physical and cyber-attacks on the smart grid, utilities are spending significant money on closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance and security software. Additionally, a number of companies have developed security platforms that can easily be integrated with current systems to enable utilities and grid operators to detect and react to incidents in real time.