Project Aims to Ensure Offshore Renewable Innovations Remain Cyber-Secure

(Image credit: Innovation Origins)

The future development and deployment of floating offshore wind technology is seen as a critical element of the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Now researchers have been awarded funding to create an offshore wind cyber security research and development facility that will ruggedize the technology against cyber-attacks.

The Cyber-Resilience of Offshore Wind Networks (CROWN) project will create a purpose-built lab space at the University of Plymouth.

It will include examples of the actual software and hardware found in a wind turbine array and its integration to the grid and use them to identify potential vulnerabilities.

The project team will then develop resilience procedures, security measures and training tools that ensure any future attacks do not interrupt the wind farms’ flow of energy.

The CROWN project is being led by researchers from the Maritime Cyber Threats research group at the University of Plymouth, in collaboration with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and supported by Expleo Engineering UK Limited.

It further enhances the University’s position as a global leader in both offshore renewable energy and maritime cyber security innovations and comes as discussions continue around the potential future growth of floating offshore wind technology in the Celtic Sea.

The new facility will also complement the University’s unrivalled combination of state-of-the-art ORE and maritime cyber research facilities.

They include the UK Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Test Facility (UKFOWTT), the Maritime Simulation Laboratory—where offshore wind project teams can verify, test and optimize installation and maintenance projects—and the Cyber-SHIP Lab, the UK’s only hardware-based maritime cyber security research and development platform.

“The quest for clean energy is a critical element in the global drive for net zero. However, as increasingly innovative technologies are developed there is a pressing need to ensure they are not only efficient but also cyber-secure. With the Southwest being at the forefront of developments in floating offshore wind and maritime cyber security, this project unites two disciplines that will be critical to our future environmental and economic prosperity,” said CROWN Project Manager, Chloe Rowland.

The CROWN project is being supported by a grant of £650,000 from the Heart of the Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership. It will allow the continued growth of the maritime cyber-cluster in the Heart of the Southwest region and will be further enhanced by close engagement with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which has been commissioned by UK Government to look at resilience across all energy systems.

The initiative will also support the work of Great Southwest, a pan-regional partnership representing Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. It aims to champion the region’s unique blue and green assets and the role they will play in driving the UK’s transition to net zero.

The cutting-edge research conducted through the CROWN project will be vital to supporting the development of the region’s clean energy portfolio.


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