Speaker Presentation: Dr. Erfan Ibrahim

National Renewable Energy Lab
Center Director for Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience R&D


Dr. Erfan Ibrahim is the Center Director for Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience R&D at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden Colorado. Dr. Ibrahim works with the public and private sector to identify security requirements, evaluate cybersecurity standards, test cybersecurity controls and determine residual risk in smart networks in the electric sector, water and oil & gas. He serves as the chief liaison from NREL to the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) at the Department of Energy. He is also serving on the cybersecurity and resilience team within the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium for the DoE.

Dr. Ibrahim has had a 28 year career working in a variety of fields including plasma physics, nuclear fusion engineering, telecom, IT, network management, communications, smart grid and cybersecurity. He has worked for Lawrence Livermore National Lab, UCLA, Pacific Bell, Newbridge Networks, Jyra Research, Electric Power Research Institute, Scitor and Penn State University. He served as a consultant through his company, The Bit Bazaar LLC for over 10 years in the high tech, financial services, government and energy sectors. Dr. Ibrahim led the industry consensus building exercise in the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap project during 2009 and also led the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization Resources (NESCOR) project from DoE during 2010-2011 while serving as a Technical Executive in the Intelligrid Program at EPRI. Dr. Ibrahim has a BS Honors in Physics from Syracuse University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Texas Austin and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California Berkeley.

“PowerSPIN R&D Business Model”


TIME:  8:15 AM – 8:45 AM


While there is much collaboration that is alive and thriving in the electric sector they are mostly membership based, involve large voluntary groups and largely perform theoretical work including computer simulations, analyses and policy shaping. The main challenge with most of them is their inability to deliver empirically validated results that are tangible and timely to be usable by utilities to keep the lights on safely, affordably and reliably.

The PowerSPIN R&D collaborative will leverage the immense electric, networking and cybersecurity infrastructure with legacy and modern systems at the four national labs in PowerSPIN to carry out empirically based R&D with a sense of urgency and relevance to satisfy the time sensitive needs of utilities and accelerate the adoption of Smart Grid technologies while lowering the overall cost of deployment.

The promise of the PowerSPIN collaborative is to open the Smart Grid market to even small and medium sized utilities that are still sitting on the fence because it is too costly to deploy Smart Grid and with dubious Return on Investment business models due to the current custom approach led by highly competitive integrators with pre-defined vendor relationships (inefficient market). While integrators will end up making less money in each utility engagement with the PowerSPIN collaborative in place, they will actually realize larger overall revenue from the sector because the lower price tag (from $1 million down to $300K per engagement) will open a much larger market for them with many more engagements overall (like cellular companies did after the drop in mobile phone prices over the past 15 years).