On December 2, 2016, the second day of the Twelfth U.S.-Japan Critical Infrastructure Protection Forum, Sasakawa USA and the James E. Auer U.S.-Japan Center at Vanderbilt University brought together experts from the private power and cybersecurity industries, consultants, researchers, and government regulators from both the United States and Japan to discuss cybersecurity threats to smart grids and opportunities for bilateral cooperation in addressing those threats. There was broad agreement that the risk of cyberattack on the power distribution systems of both countries is increasing due to the spread of networking capabilities and devices connected to the power grid. Physical attacks are also possible in the electricity sector, and could be linked to cyberattacks with particularly lethal consequences. While opinions on cyber risks associated with these smart grids and how best to deal with them varied among participants, several broad areas of agreement stood out.
• Smart grids will become more prevalent and more necessary as both countries move toward greater reliance on renewable energy.
• Cybersecurity will be one of major challenges associated with modernizing power grids.
• Industry should take the lead in developing cybersecurity for the power grid rather than wait for regulators.
• Addressing industrial cybersecurity challenges will require a major investment in developing human resources.
• Security must be built into smart grids from the start rather than added on as a secondary consideration.
Each of this report’s sections deals with a panel or presentation from the Forum. “The Grid Futures in the United States and Japan” panel provides an outline of the current and future states of power grid modernization in both countries. “Cybersecurity Challenges for Smart Grids” contextualizes networked devices within overall security for the power grid. “Developing New Security Architecture for Smart Grids: Prevention and Resilience” describes the efforts of the Government of Japan and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan (METI) to encourage power companies to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities. “Government and Public-Private Partnerships in Securing the Grid: Funding, Regulation, and Information Sharing” details the steps American federal and state agencies have taken to modernize the power grid and provides a roadmap for the future.