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Critical UTility InfrastructurAL Resilience

Critical UTility InfrastructurAL Resilience

European Union




Giovanna Dondossola


The CRUTIAL project addressed new networked ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) systems for the management of the electric power grid, in which artefacts controlling the physical process of electricity transportation needed to be connected with information infrastructures, through corporate networks, which were in turn connected to the Internet.

The peculiarity of such ICT-supported systems was that they were related to the power system dynamics and its emergency conditions. Specific efforts needed to be devoted by the Electric Power community and by the Information Technology community to influence the technological progress in order to allow commercial Intelligent Electronic Devices to be effectively deployed for the protection of citizens against cyber threats to electric power management and control systems.

A well-founded know-how needed to be built inside the industrial power sector to allow all the involved stakeholders to achieve their service objectives without compromising the resilience properties of the logical and physical assets that support the electric power provision: this requirement was particularly stringent since the recent introduction of a competitive electric power market. CRUTIAL’ s innovative approach resided in modelling interdependent infrastructures taking into account the multiple dimensions of interdependencies, and attempting at casting them into new architectural patterns, resilient to both accidental failures and malicious attacks. Firstly, the project aimed to develop comprehensive modelling approaches, supported by measurement based experiments, to analyse critical scenarios in which internal or external faults in a segment of the information infrastructure provoked a serious impact on the controlled electric power infrastructure. The goal was to understand and master such interdependencies to avoid escalating and cascading failures that resulted in outages and blackouts.

Effort was focused on the modelling and analysis of interdependencies, especially considering various types of failures that could occur in the presence of accidental and malicious faults affecting the information and electric power infrastructures. Secondly, the project investigated distributed architectures dedicated to the control and management of the power grid, in the perspective of improving the capability of analysing critical scenarios and designing dependable interconnected power control systems. The architectures addressed requirements coming from the needs of flexible electric power services, characterized by dispersed energy resources, on-demand control and generation/load variations from the market.


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