Growing energy demands and environmental concerns have significantly increased the interest of academia, industry, and governments in the development of a smart electric power grid. Security is one of the key aspects of power systems. The objective of this research is to advance methods of vulnerability analysis and to develop innovative responses to maintain the integrity of power grids under complex attacks (both cyber attacks and physical failures). This research will contribute to developing robust, secure, and reliable future smart grid systems.

Unlike many of the existing efforts that focuses on abstract topological structure or load-based analysis, this project considers both network topology and intrinsic power flow characteristics to understand system behavior in complex power grid attacks. This includes single-node and multiple-node vulnerability analysis, development of new risk-aware metrics, spatial-temporal attacks with consideration of timing and location, and multifaceted attacks augmented by link failures. Knowledge of power grid system behavior under attack scenarios will allow us to develop new defense strategies.

As power and energy systems have become one of the key technology and economic development focuses across the world, this project will have far-reaching impacts at different levels. This includes enhancing national power system security, providing technical support to government agencies and policy-makers for the U.S. energy sustainability community, and student education and workforce preparation in this field.