Interview with eFORT’s technical coordinator

The eFORT project is not just about securing the electrical grid; it’s about securing the future of our societies. As Europe strives for a more sustainable and interconnected energy landscape, the eFORT project and the people behind it strive to ensure that Europe’s power system remains secure, reliable, and sustainable in the long run.

In this interview Jesús Torres, eFORT’s technical coordinator and Director of the ICT integration group at CIRCE, shares his insights about the eFORT project.

Can you tell what eFORT is about?

This electricity system faces a broad variety of threats, both in terms of cybersecurity and physical or other kinds of threats, such as extreme weather events, manmade hazards or equipment failures. Digital transition is already a reality, and a key to this critical system. At the same time, according to the European Commission, cyberattacks have increased by 400% in the last few years.

In eFORT, we address these issues and aim to make the electricity system more secure, reliable and sustainable in the future. For this purpose, we will develop a very comprehensive and versatile range of technologies, with a security-by-design approach. These technologies will help us to identify, prevent and mitigate risks and vulnerabilities in power grids.

What is unique about the eFORT approach?

In the project, we encounter a high diversity of information system and tools, which we address by setting up the rules for the eFORT integration platform from the very beginning. Instead of a central platform setting up the rules for our demo sites, users and data management, we do it the other way around. Our focus is on the users, systems and needs in each demo, and ensuring their interoperability with data collection and representation in our central systems. This will enable us to develop a common framework and to produce significant contributions to the regulations activities of the European Commission.

How will the solutions be demonstrated?

To test the solutions, we will deploy four demo sites which are located in the Netherlands, Ukraine, Spain and Italy.

The demo in the Netherlands, hosted by TU Delft, represents a complete section of the transmission area of our power system. It consists of a digital twin for this section and a real size and self-contained control room of the futures, a great field to set up training activities.

There is also a demo site in Spain, which covers the distribution system. It sets the focus on distributed energy resources and the users in terms of demand response control incentivization. For that, we will also test and validate security responses and resilience of IoT devices.

The Italian site is a complete section of medium and low voltage of the distribution network. This demo is more focused on automation and resilience action of the grid, and electrical behavior in terms of blackout recovery, resilience and oscillation response.

And finally, the Ukrainian demo is entirely focused on digital substation. We will set up new technologies to capture and analyze real events and digital traffic of the substation in order to enable, deploy and test intrusion detection system and new machine learning based mechanisms to get advanced security response.

Why do does eFORT address the issues on an European level?

In Europe, the interconnection between states in the energy sector is a really significant aspect of the power system. These critical services are becoming more and more dependent of digital networks and they need to be protected.

Two recent directives have been enacted by the European Commisison to standardize and establish a minimum set of rules, and to have a common framework to respond to the risks. eFORT aims to contribute to the standardization, and international coordination is crucial because we are talking about cross-border applications.

Finally, unfortunately, the aggression against Ukraine has shown how attacks on critical infrastructure, and in particular on energy infrastructures, have now a hybrid nature, both cyber and physical, and are considered key actions to damage the stability and resources of a country.

How will the project benefit European citizens?

Securing and enhancing the resilience of the electrical power system has a direct impact on the everyday lives of European citizens. A few specific examples of this impact are safe energy supply, more stable prices, and reduced dependence on specific energy sources. This also paves the way for a greener energy mix that is carbon reduced and more climate friendly, embracing renewable energy sources.

Additionally, the prevention of incidents and risks, while often unnoticed, plays a critical role in ensuring the continuity of services. Proactive measures ensure the resilience and security of the electrical grid, and the successful prevention of accidents, even if it is considered a silent success.

eFORT’s approach is to ensure that the power grid can handle the fluctuating nature of renewables and maintain stability in the face of unique challenges, regardless of the energy source.

Press release: eFORT project to enhance European electrical grid security and resilience

The Horizon Europe funded eFORT project, launched in September 2022, aims to improve European grid security on both cyber and physical levels. The project was prompted by a multitude of challenges to the grid, posed by climate change, green transition, and human-induced hazards.

To address attacks and disruptive events, eFORT aims to provide a clear picture of vulnerabilities and major threats and develop a set of solutions. The solutions include an intelligent platform and the use of digital twins for the Control Room of the Future to train future grid operators. As part of the project, data confidentiality procedures and blockchain layers will be used to increase security and privacy in grid data management.

Results from the project will be tested and validated in four distinct demo cases across Europe. These include transmission networks in the Netherlands, remote distribution grids in Northern Italy, and digital substations in Ukraine and microgrids in Spain. The comprehensive approach aims to ensure the applicability of the eFORT solutions to a wide range of grid scenarios.

The project combines a unique set of expertise in the fields of physical protection and cybersecurity of the grids. Bringing together a consortium of 23 leading organizations, comprising key players in the energy industry, universities, research institutes, and consultancies, eFORT aims to enhance the resilience and security of European energy systems, benefitting all layers of society. The €9 million project is funded by the European Union Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, Grant Agreement number 101075665.

Quick facts:

  • Duration: 1 September 2022 – 31 August 2026
  • Demonstration sites: Escúzar, Spain; the Netherlands; Sarentino Valley, Italy;
    Iltsi, Ukraine
  • eFORT is funded by the European Union Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, Grant Agreement number 101075665.

For media inquiries and further information, please contact the project coordinator:

Fundacion CIRCE





eFORT at ARES conference 2023

ARES conference (International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security) was organized in Benevento Italy in 29 August – 1 September 2023 to bring together researchers and practitioners in the field of IT security and privacy.

In conjunction with the conference, eFORT co-organized a workshop Electrical Power and Energy Systems Safety, Security and Resilience together with sister projects ELECTRON and RESIli8.

eFORT was represented in the workshop and event by the Dutch applied research organization TNO. Yoram Meijaard (Cybersecurity Consultant) was a panelist in a panel discussion with the topic “Main challenges regarding current and future cybersecurity in the Electrical Power and Energy Systems (EPES) sector”.

Moreover, Swarna Kumarswamy-Das (Cybersecurity Scientist, TNO, the Netherlands) presented on Incident Response and Resilience Actions in EPES.

See the full presentation:

More information about the conference:

eFORT joins BRIDGE and attends the 2023 General Assembly in Brussels

We are pleased to announce that eFORT is now a member of BRIDGE. This week, we will participate in the hybrid General Assembly for the first time. eFORT will be represented online by the coordinator CIRCE, SUITE5, RINA-C, and Smart Innovation Norway, and in Brussels by Elvira Sánchez from the European Network for Cyber Security.

BRIDGE is a European Commission initiative which brings together Horizon projects in the fields of Smart Grids, Digitalisation, Energy Storage and Islands to create a structured view of cross-cutting challenges to innovation. Since the establishment of BRIDGE, it has had more than 90 member projects.

As part of BRIDGE, the project representatives meet regularly to discuss and develop analyses and reports aimed at resolving common problems. The outputs also support the elaboration of EU directives.

Being part of BRIDGE is an exciting opportunity for eFORT to gain and exchange knowledge with other projects. eFORT will be represented in all four working groups: Business Models, Consumer and Citizen Engagement, Regulation and Data Management.

More information about the BRIDGE initiative:

bridge brochure

eFORT joins the European Cluster for Securing Critical Infrastructures

We are happy to announce that eFORT is now a member of the European Cluster for Securing Critical Infrastructures (ECSCI).

ECSCI creates synergies and fosters emerging disruptive solutions to security issues via cross-project collaboration and innovation. Its research activities focus on how to protect critical infrastructures and services, highlighting the different approaches between the clustered projects and establishing tight and productive connections with closely related and complementary EU Horizon projects.

One of the key components of eFORT is collaboration and engagement with relevant stakeholders, initiatives and projects. As part of ECSCI, the eFORT partners seek to collaborate with the cluster projects to reach our common goals and to maximise our impact.

The cluster has published joint scientific publications, open books, contributed to standards and regulations on critical infrastructures. It also organises national and international workshops.

For more information on the cluster projects, results, events and contacts, please visit the ECSCI website:

Follow eFORT on Linkedin and Twitter to stay updated.

eFORT presented at Barcelona Cybersecurity Congress

During the 21st century, the number of blackouts in the electrical power and energy systems has been increasing in Europe. The issues can be caused by physical failures, such as storms, but also increasingly often by cyberattacks.

BCN Cybersecurity Congress eFORT electric grids

Dr. Gregorio López from the eFORT partner Comillas University presented eFORT’s approach to improving cybersecurity in electrical grids at the Barcelona Cybersecurity Congress on 2 February 2023.

He discussed the recent demand side attacks and MadIoT attacks (manipulation of demand via Internet of Things). In addition, he presented some of the recent literature and research questions concerning the topic.

See Dr. Gregorio López’s full presentation below.

Follow eFORT on Linkedin and Twitter to stay updated.

Get to know eFORT

Prompted by the need to comply with environmental and societal concerns, the European EPES (Electrical Power and Energy Systems) are undergoing an unprecedented transformation, demanding urgent upgrades to make them more reliable, resilient and secure. Modernization of current grids will greatly reduce the frequency and duration of power blackouts, diminish the impact of disruptive events and restore service faster when outages occur, creating broad benefits to society and economy.

The eFORT project addresses this complex challenge by gathering a consortium of 23 partners from 10 European countries, providing needed expertise. The eFORT approach will enable the further upgrading of the energy grid without affecting the security of supply and increasing their reliability and resiliency against extreme weather events, man-made hazards and equipment failures. The project period is 4 years, starting in September 2022 and ending in August 2026.

eFORT will deploy a set of solutions at the cyber and physical layers for detecting, preventing and mitigating vulnerabilities and threats. Among them, an interoperable Intelligent Platform will set a common foundation for grid characterization and vulnerability overseeing, as well as gather information from smart grid components and apply heavy-duty algorithms, whereas Asset Management developments will strengthen grid infrastructure robustness, which will be empowered by the addressed Digital Technologies.

Four demo sites

All these elements will be validated in relevant environments coming from 4 demo cases covering the whole grid value chain: (D1) a micro-grid in Spain; (D2) a transmission network in the Netherlands; (D3) a remote distribution grid in Italy; and (D4) a digital substation in Ukraine. Moreover, eFORT relies on several horizontal actions aiming at empowering EPES players by establishing a common regulatory and standardisation framework, performing technical and cost-benefit analysis, and evaluating
new related business models and replication potential, in the pathway towards a more sustainable energy system.

The eFORT consortium

Kick-off in Zaragoza

The project was successfully kicked off in Zaragoza in September 2022, hosted by the project coordinating partner CIRCE. During the two-day meeting, the consortium discussed the work package linkages, and the first steps and actions to be taken in order to establish fruitful collaboration. The eFORT consortium looks forward to tackling the challenge of modernizing European grids and to develop a set of solutions to increase the EPES reliability and resilience.