Resilient, Cyber Secure Centralized Substation Protection

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OPEN 2018
Atlanta, Georgia
Project Term:
07/12/2019 - 01/01/2024

Critical Need:

Power systems are experiencing drastic changes with the introduction of renewables and customer-owned resources that tend to reduce the magnitude of electrical current that flows into a fault or short circuit. It is not possible to detect a fault if the current is too small, so no action can be taken to isolate it. These new challenges in protection, control, and operation of power systems are compounded by the existing problems of hidden failures. In protection, it is necessary to develop new methods that are immune to these new characteristics and can avoid relay mis-operations. It is not enough to detect abnormalities in the protection and control system, however. It is important to enable continuous operation in the event of these failures, i.e., to provide resiliency in the system.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The Georgia Tech Research Corporation will design an autonomous, resilient and cyber-secure protection and control system for each power plant and substation on its grid. This will eliminate complex coordinated protection settings and transform the protection practice into a simpler, intelligent, automated and transparent process. The technology will integrate protective relays into an intelligent protection scheme that relies on existing high data redundancy in substations to (a) validate data; (b) detect hidden failures and in this case self-heal the protection and control system; (c) detect cyber-attacks (focus on false data and/or malicious control injection) and identify the source for attribution; and (d) provide the full state of the system with minimal delay for optimal full state feedback control.

Potential Impact:

The proposed technologies simplify grid protection by eliminating the need for coordination, lessening relay misoperations, and enabling detection and self-healing against cyber attacks and hidden failures.


A protected grid would be more resilient to disruptions from equipment failure, natural disasters, or attack.


Enabling increased use of wind and solar-generated power would result in a substantial decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.—40% of which are produced by electricity generation.


A protected grid would help shield U.S. businesses from costly power outages and brownouts that stop automated equipment, bring down factories, and crash computers.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Richard O'Neill
Project Contact:
Prof. Athanasios P Meliopoulos
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Southern Company
Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI)

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