Quantifying the Impacts on Reliability of Coupling between Power System Cyber and Physical Components

Research Summary: 

Information technology systems are increasingly being incorporated into power systems as a significant part of the smart grid vision. The interaction of cyber components and physical components adds higher levels of uncertainty, vulnerability, and complexity to the power grid. For instance, potential cyber-attacks, device faults, and even noisy measurements and communication networks may raise challenges for system operations. Meanwhile, deep penetration of renewable-based generation introduces an additional source of uncertainty, which may require advanced cyber infrastructure for fast response. Those uncertainties from cyber and physical components are the main factors affecting system monitoring and control performance. This study quantified the impacts of those challenges on power systems. We identified faults and misbehaviors of cyber components commonly used for communication and control in the power grid, and grouped faults/attacks into two classes: those impacting data integrity, and those impacting data availability. We used tools from stochastic system analysis to assess the impact of the uncertainties affecting system operations and control on overall system dynamic performance and reliability. We developed a taxonomy of uncertainty factors in both cyber and physical components in a power grid, and constructed appropriate models to quantify the impacts of uncertainties defined in the taxonomy on system dynamic performance and reliability. We also proposed a variety of system communication network attack scenarios that would adversely affect power system performance metrics. Two classes of attack scenarios were identified that would significantly degrade the system performance: imposition of properly tuned random noise into the measurements, and introduction of random delay in the communication network.

Research Demo:

PMUs and Bad Data Detection: Demo of a GPS spoofing attack presented by Daniel Chen during the TCIPG Industry Workshop in November 2011.

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