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Stability Impact of IEEE 1547 Operational Mode Changes

I'm happy to announce the publication of "Stability Impact of IEEE 1547 Operational Mode Changes Under High DER Penetration in the Presence of Cyber Adversary" in the 2021 IEEE Green Technologies (GreenTech) conference. This paper is one of the first finished and refined products of my research conducted under Al Valdes as a partnership with ABB-Hitachi.


In this work, we present the findings of a case study demonstrating potential adversarial misuse of the new IEEE 1547 standard for distributed energy resource (DER) interoperability. The updated standard, released in 2018 with revisions ongoing, specifies the need for more flexible settings, requiring the DER to remain connected during certain disturbances and provide voltage support via active and reactive power modes. With these increased capabilities comes increased risks, and our analysis of the standard has produced potential settings combinations, which, while allowable under the standard, may actually create instability. This contradicts the main purpose of the revised standard. Since the DER must support a communication interface through which the AEPS operator can change settings, adversarial mode changes are possible via a cyberattack. This concern is heightened as DER penetration increases, where under a reasonable threat model, an attacker could affect multiple DER simultaneously.


We have conducted a simulation analysis of potentially adverse combinations of mode change and ride-through parameters on a hypothetical AEPS with varying degrees of DER penetration. We conclude that certain adverse mode changes, whether through error or cyberattack, can lead to unstable conditions with DER penetrations as low as 24% of the AEPS system capacity.


My contributions to this paper were primarily in the use case development. I spent an extensive amount of time analyzing the standard and theorizing ways that an adversary could manipulate a DER while staying within the bounds of the standard. Then, I helped develop a model in MATLAB Simulink that would allow us to demonstrate with simulations how these adversarial manipulations could occur. I wrote functions that allowed the DER in our model to execute the functions required by IEEE 1547, and worked with other members of the project team to ensure that the simulation results were reasonable and accurately represented the adversarial use case.

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