The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI's) cyber security collaborative to assess and develop technologies, best practices, metrics and standards to protect the U.S. electric sector against cyber attacks. The DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the collaborative will negotiate a funding level for the public-private research initiative.

The EPRI-led collaborative comprises national research and commercial research laboratories, universities and subject-matter experts in key areas of cyber security. The participants bring diverse experience in technology, business, standards and policy.

Among the collaboratives tasks are: assessing requirements and results developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, North American Electric Reliability Corp. and other organizations; reviewing power system and cyber security standards in meeting power-system security requirements; and, testing grid security technologies protocols using laboratories and pilot projects.

The selection of the EPRI collaborative is part of a long-term program that will ultimately lead to the creation of a National Electric Sector Cyber Organization (NESCO). This federal government-electric sector partnership will analyze the cyber security status of the nation's transmission and distribution systems as smart grid technologies are incorporated to enable a low-carbon future.

Up to $10 million is expected to be available over three years to establish NESCO, fund research and development, and set up administrative and operational functions. It is expected that NESCO will become self-sustaining within the three years, using key findings from the collaborative.

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