Cyber Security with IoT-Enabled Smart Energy Storage Technology
One of the best things about smart energy storage technology is the opportunity it creates for those in the HVAC, electrical contracting, and solar energy markets to provide added value to their customers and thus benefit from an additional revenue stream. The energy storage market is already becoming enormous with Navigant Research predicting it will reach $15.6 billion in revenue by 2024.
HVAC contractors can offer smart energy storage to their customers to help them save money on electricity costs and monitor their energy usage. Electrical contractors can use it to help their customers achieve the benefits of home automation. Solar contractors can implement it as part of a solar plus storage solution to help customer reduce their carbon footprint and electric bills at the same time.
In addition, communities in the U.S. are beginning to integrate renewables, energy storage, and the internet of things to create micro economies where they buy, sell, and trade energy amongst themselves. They can also send the energy they don’t use to their local utilities in exchange for renewable energy credits.
However, it’s best not to look at smart energy storage technology as though it’s a perfect solution. The reality is that along with the rewards it provides, it also brings enhanced risks, primarily surrounding cyber security. Though utilities are more adversely affected by cyber security breaches than consumers, energy customers still need to take their own safety into consideration as well when selecting smart energy storage products.
Addressing the cyber security concerns of IoT-enabled smart energy storage
The rapid decrease in cost of information, communications, and battery storage technologies is enabling more flexible and efficient generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption of energy, notably through smart energy storage solutions. This all leads to a more widespread connection of distributed energy resources, which can increase the number of vulnerabilities in smart devices and electric systems, according to MIT.
Many of these vulnerabilities are known to us according to Stephen Soble, CEO of global cyber security firm Assured Services, but can’t be adequately protected due to myriad factors such as aging technology, unprotected device access credentials, and industry cultures that don’t emphasize cyber security.
Also, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) indicates that modernizing the grid to protect against developing threats could cost more than $1 trillion through 2040. In addition, the simple fact of the matter is that no electrical system can be completely invulnerable 100 percent of time.
The point is that cyber security is a significant challenge for contractors that are trying to bridge the gap between their existing services and offering IoT-enabled smart energy technology to their customers.
Potential solutions to smart energy storage cyber security threats
For HVAC, electrical, and solar contractors, this means that they need to carefully choose the smart energy storage solutions they offer their customers, as they’re nowhere near being commoditized. Here are some things to look out for when selecting a smart energy storage solution for your customers that’s optimized for safety and security:
Risk management and prevention culture – Dealing only with smart energy storage companies that have cultures which emphasize cyber security should be your top priority. Many smart tech companies are so focused on their products that they deemphasize or even ignore completely their inherent cyber security risks.