In recent years, electric power infrastructure and networks have been thrust into a dizzying technological transformation process to introduce distributed intelligence that is remotely controlled by IT systems. The power industry is increasingly aware of the risks that this new model creates and the need for effective tools to protect against the possibility of external attacks. The National Observatory for the Cyber Security, Resilience and Business Continuity of Electric Power Networks has been particularly active in promoting the commitment to create standards and tools designed to strengthen this protection and make Cyber Security a widespread reality in the world of university research, national governments and industry.
Against this backdrop, leading Power Generation industry player Ansaldo Energia has given a boost to the company's digital transformation process, with the aim of applying all the main technologies of the Industry 4.0 Plan to its own products and processes.
To ensure the resilience of both its own production facilities and those of its customers against the growing threats generated by the digital ecosystem, Ansaldo Energia has chosen Leonardo, a global leader in the Aerospace, Defence and Security industries, as its partner to develop and promote technology solutions that can also be provided in the form of services. Leonardo will bring to the partnership its cyber security expertise in the protection of critical infrastructures and provide solutions capable of ensuring the cyber resilience of energy systems and their physical and logical security. With a special focus on Ansaldo Energia's Lighthouse Plant project, Leonardo will provide support for the continuous evolution and innovation of the services offered, operating as System Integrator for its own technologies and those of other partners.
The agreement will also enable Ansaldo Energia and Leonardo to collaborate on innovative projects, including the creation of an Industry 4.0 competence centre in Liguria for the managers of critical energy industry infrastructures. The "Start 4.0 Competence Centre for the Security and Optimisation of critical Infrastructures" is now in the process of being set up, with the involvement of the Liguria Regional Administration through its in-house organisation Liguria Digital, of research and training providers active in Liguria, including CNR, Genoa University and IIT, and of other major local players like RINA and Iren. It is one of the eight 'Competence Centres' selected by the Italian Ministry for Industry and Economic Development (MISE) to receive funding in the framework of Industry 4.0.
Start 4.0 will have a mission to develop new expertise, to identify adequate technical and technological solutions, to develop experiments and validate methodological approaches. Start 4.0 will also launch a permanent training organisation addressed to security processes for Critical Infrastructures 4.0 and their interdependence at both internal (among Strategic Infrastructures 4.0) and external level (among the different types of operating Strategic Infrastructures), in the application areas identified (Energy, Transport, Water, Production and Ports). Start 4.0 will also help the Critical infrastructures 4.0 advanced optimisation to map risks and protection solutions comprehensively, in relation to both local and domino effects.
As a result of this recognition, Liguria is the only region today with a collaborative ecosystem comprising Confindustria Liguria's Digital Innovation Hub, the Start 4.0 Competence Centre and Ansaldo Energia's Lighthouse Plant addressed by MISE in the Industry 4.0 Plan.
The presentation of the agreement was attended by Liguria Regional Administration Economic Development Councillor Andrea Benveduti and Confindustria Liguria President Giuseppe Zampini, who both gave welcome speeches.
The agreement was described in more detail by Luca Manuelli, Chief Digital Officer at Ansaldo Energia, and Giorgio Mosca, Director Strategy & Technologies – Security & Information Systems Division at Leonardo.
Other speakers included Paola Girdinio, President of the National Observatory for the Cyber Security, Resilience and Business Continuity of Electric Power Networks, Sonia Sandei, Head of Distributed Generation Sales at Enel X, Tiziano Salmi, Chief Information Officer at Iren, Raimondo De Laurentiis, Business Development Director Power at RINA, and Roberto Marcialis, Genoa Research Area Manager at CNR.