REGULATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Cybersecurity risks heighten as Asia power plants digitise

Hacking and malevolent interference are key threats to look out for.

As power plants and distribution facilities increasingly go through digitalisation, the risks of hacking and malevolent interference heightens, according to Fitch Solutions. At the forefront of digital development and thus countries with increased risk are developed markets like China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

Whilst digitalisation adoption in emerging markets across Asia remains relatively nascent, many governments are increasingly looking to digitalise in order to boost power sector efficiency and supply/demand management – such as in India, Thailand, and Vietnam amongst many others.

“This is particularly so in parallel to the growth of non-hydro renewables, where these new technologies aid in balancing the intermittent nature of solar and wind, and thus support a further expansion of the sector without jeopardising energy security,” Fitch Solutions said.

The power sector has been subjected to the increasing penetration of new technologies such as smart-meters, distributed generation and grid systems, batteries, and demand-side management tools.

“A cyberattack on an increasingly digitalised power sector may cause risks to the control of sensitive assets such as nuclear power plants, or cause widespread economic losses in the event of a power supply interruption,” Fitch Solutions noted, adding that cybersecurity investment will be crucial to mitigate the high risk that will accompany the process of power sector digitalisation. 

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