Old Dominion University received $2 million in federal funding to support cybersecurity for offshore wind energy in Virginia. 

Half of the amount, or $1 million, comes from fiscal year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) secured by U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and awarded through the U.S. Department of Energy. The other $1 million is from the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) of the Department of Defense. Old Dominion University is a part of the SERC network.  

The federal investment will be used to create a Cybersecurity Center for Offshore Wind Energy run by ODU’s Center for Secure and Intelligent Critical Systems (CSICS). Researchers at the center will develop standards and best practices for offshore wind cybersecurity and engage with regional stakeholders in the industry. 

“We are especially grateful for the willingness of Sens. Warner and Kaine to commit federal funding to ODU for an important initiative across the Hampton Roads region,” said Sachin Shetty, executive director of CSICS and professor of electrical and computer engineering. “This funding will allow us to establish a testbed for offshore wind energy security.”

“We were proud to help secure this federal funding and are thrilled to see it arrive at ODU,” said Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (D-VA). “Offshore wind holds so much promise for Virginia and the future of clean energy, so it’s more important than ever that we secure this critical infrastructure. We look forward to seeing these federal dollars continue to power ODU’s excellent work in the cybersecurity space.”  

The center will collaborate with offshore wind energy stakeholders to identify critical wind assets and evaluate the impact of wind on broader grid security. The center will conduct a multi-phased approach to evaluating the impact of threats to wind farms, including instrumenting a wind microgrid testbed to evaluate the cyber readiness of wind technologies; identifying threat vectors; designing and implementing an eavesdropping attack; and analyzing the attack to determine mitigation measures and recommend best practices.

The funding will support research and development to enhance knowledge of cybersecurity threats to wind farms and remedial measures, and the testbed will serve as a resource for industry members.

“This federal funding will result in stronger public-private partnership in the area of offshore wind cybersecurity that will result in transformational discoveries,” Shetty said.

CSICS is supported by the Office of Enterprise Research and Innovation and its mission is to develop and deliver innovative technologies, knowledge, products and best practices for secure and intelligent critical systems.