The growing number of cyber threats to the nation’s electric grid are at the forefront of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s mind these days, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur told Bloomberg BNA in an exclusive interview.

“The difficulty is that the threats are evolving very, very rapidly. I don’t think I knew what ransomware was six months ago, and now it’s all over the press. There seem to be constant new words of new types of cyber incursions, and the standards process is not nimble enough to continually adapt to all of the new cyber threats. So I think we have to work beyond the standards to communicate between the government and industry and other parts of government to make sure threat information is shared and responses can adapt rapidly,” she said.

Cheryl LaFleur FERC

She also highlighted the challenges of integrating more intermittent renewables to the grid but remained optimistic that reliability wouldn’t be affected.

“Right now, the commission and North American Electric Reliability Corp. are looking at what are the ways in which you need to change the operation of the grid to ensue reliability at a time when a growing number of the resources are not controllable with a switch, but are controlled by the natural forces—the wind and the sun. I’m confident that we can keep the lights on, but it’s a different structure in which we’ll be working than when we had the baseload as the primary sources of energy,” she said.

My full interview is at: FERC’s Cheryl LaFleur: Need to Stay Ahead of Cyber Threats.