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Securing Smart Microgrid with DERS in NextG

Principal Investigator: Zhifang Wang, associate professor, electrical and computer engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

Co-Principal Investigator: Yanxiao Zhao, associate professor, electrical and computer engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

Securing Smart Microgrid with DERs in NextG Project Description:

NextG networks could help make power grids more reliable and secure but need cybersecurity protection to prevent, detect and respond to malicious manipulation on grid functionality. A smart microgrid utilizing NextG networks is expected to increase power grid resilience and reliability, make energy generation sources more efficient, and enhance integration of renewable and clean energy.

A typical micro grid consists of a cluster of interconnected loads, Distributed Energy Resources (DERs are a small-scale unit of power generation), and intermediate energy storage units that act as a single controllable entity for the grid. NextG networks are considered to be a promising candidate for smart grid communications because they are able to enhance a microgrid’s scalable and flexible operations via its ultra-reliable and low-latency communications.

But how to best secure a NextG networked enabled smart grid is still in its infancy. In this project, researchers plan to develop an effective microgrid model to represent a real or simulated electric distribution circuit with Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), leverage artificial intelligence (AI) based technology to detect cyber threats and attacks on microgrid operations, and finally respond to cyberthreats and explore best control options for information and power flow to optimize energy efficiency and resilience.