December POWERGEN+ is all about making sense of cyber and data challenges in the power plant

Data is the new oil, British mathematician Clive Humby was once quoted as saying.

It’s that valuable in many ways, but it’s also multiple times harder to refine and know what’s useful than the onetime black gold.

The next sessions of the virtual POWERGEN+ series hopes to track, if not simplify, that arduous digital journey for power generators. POWERGEN+ will focus Monday and Tuesday, December 14 and 15, on O&M from the cybersecurity and digital power plant perspectives.

Registration is free and all of the sessions will be live, yet also available on demand after that.

POWERGEN+ December kicks off Dec. 14 with experts from VTScada by Trihedral focusing on “The Cost of Failure: Why Mission-Critical should be your Mission.” Utilities can face legal and financial consequences from outages, unplanned downtime and cybersecurity vulnerabilities, so how can they embrace technologies to get the best use of their control systems?

Later that day, EnergyCast podcast host Jay Dauenhauer will moderate a panel on “Power Generation Cyber Maintenance Considerations,” featuring Michael Toecker, a senior engineering consultant who has worked with the RADICS program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

He will be joined by Carter Manucy, cybersecurity director with the Florida Municipal Power Agency; David Foose, Ovation security solutions program manager with Emerson Automation; Chris Sistrunk, technical manager at Mandiant; and Patrick Miller, managing partner at Archer International.

XTec will highlight the best data and cyber protections which the power sector can undertake, while another session featuring Emerson will help in “Making Sense of Data in the Conventional Power Plant.” XTec offers identity management infrastructure available for government, military and commercial enterprises and is beginning work to bring that assurance to the energy industry.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, AES project manager Ron Rodrique and McKinsey & Co. partner Peter Safarik will team up for a session on “The Future of Digitalization in Power.” Safarik will offer a forward-looking and holistic take on how data is reshaping the power generation process, while Rodrique will offer insights gained from the 3D modeling aspects of the AES Southland combination gas-fired power and energy storage project in California.

Siemens business development manager Eric MacDonald will guide a sober take on the perimeter defense paradigm in power, noting the need for a bolstered airgap defense to combat the increasingly sophisticated hacker attacks coming from all over the world.

The Tuesday, Dec. 15 finale will be a timely one on “Securing the Supply Chain.” This high-level panel — which includes XMPLR Energy founder Scott Affelt, Tom McDonnell of Rockwell Automation, American Electric Power’s director of security assessments, Jeffrey Sweet; and Howard Gugel, vice president of standards and engineering with the North American Electric Reliability Corp.—will highlight the challenges and follow-throughs needed from edicts such as President Trump’s executive order on the bulk power system supply chain, as well as NERC CIP 013 and more.

POWERGEN+ is free to all industry attendees. Register here.

Schedule for the December 14-15 POWERGEN+ series on cybersecurity and the digital power plant (all times U.S. Eastern)

Monday, Dec. 14

10:55-11 a.m.: Welcome video

11:30-12:15 p.m.: Cost of Failure-Why Mission Critical should be your Mission, sponsored by VT Scada by Trihedral

12:30-1:15 p.m.: Power Generation Cyber Maintenance Considerations (panel)

1:30-2:15 p.m.: XTEC Spotlight on Utility Power Generation Digital Defense needs

2:30-3:15 p.m.: Making Sense of Data in the Conventional Power Plant, featuring Emerson

Tuesday, Dec. 15

10:55 a.m.: Welcome video

11:30-12:15 p.m.: The Airgap is Not Enough-Cybersecurity Perimeters in OT Networks, sponsored by Siemens

12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m.: The Future of Digitalization in Power, featuring AES and McKinsey & Co.

2:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m.: Securing the Supply Chain in the Bulk Power System

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