The chief operating officer of the Battery Innovation Center in Greene County says a $500,000 contribution from Duke Energy Indiana will help tackle an issue to which "no one is immune." Ben Wrightsman says the resulting infrastructure, safety protocols and laboratory hardware will help the BIC with efforts to lock down microgrids from cyberattacks. The funding builds on a partnership launched early last year that was part of a settlement between Duke Energy and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor. Wrightsman says, despite being a relative newcomer on the scene, partnerships like this show the BIC is "truly an industry leader."
He says collaboration among the public and private sector partners involved in the initiative is key. "If you look at connections with technology in the state, we’ve had kind of a battery history here with some of the companies that exist and did exist," he said. "Also, you’re looking at the renewable sector, where we’ve got the electric buses in Indianapolis, we’ve got the large solar installations out at the airport, we’ve got almost 10 MW of solar that’s going in down here in southern Indiana with Duke and with Crane and with the state. So, again, they’re wanting to continue the trend of renewables and looking at how do those backbone and help partner with the balance of the existing grid today."
The funding will support testing protocols for identifying threats, create plans to resist and react and find countermeasures for multiple threats. Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy President Rob Caldwell says "microgrids present unique security challenges that need specific tools to guard against threats. The BIC is already well-known as a microgrid test facility. We are pleased to partner with them in this research project."
The funds are a result of a settlement with Duke Energy, the state and interest groups concerning the utility’s $3.5 billion coal gasification plant in Edwardsport.
Battery Innovation Center COO Ben Wrightsman says collaboration among the public and private sector partners involved in the initiative is key.