Growing cyber threat to renewable energy assets

30 June 2020

Renewable energy asset owners relying more heavily on digital systems during the current period of lockdown – and beyond – must adapt to increased exposure to cyber threats such as ransomware, denial-of-service and human error, according to GCube. The insurance specialist says that it has seen increased demand for non-damage cyber risk insurance as increasing numbers of firms seek to mitigate their potential exposure to business interruption and other cyber losses.

The emergence of Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented lockdown worldwide, leading many renewable energy companies to take advantage of remote monitoring systems and working practices to try and ensure ‘business as usual’ despite the disruption. The situation has also led to an increase in cyber-attacks on global renewable energy businesses, it says.

Though cyber-attacks such as ransomware and denial-of-service remain significantly under-reported in the renewable energy industry, recent high-profile examples in the UK, the US and Portugal have provided additional public demonstration of the need for asset owners to invest in cyber insurance products which can provide financial cover in these ‘non-physical damage’ events.

Geoffrey Taunton-Collins, Senior Analyst at GCube, said: “Digitalisation of course drives significant efficiency gains for businesses and is now a necessity for renewable energy companies looking to maintain continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic. But with portfolios now at greater risk of cyber-attacks, we are seeing even greater demand for our cyber insurance product as project owners are increasingly realising the very real threat that cyber-attacks pose.”

Numerous businesses have approached GCube in recent weeks seeking a means to mitigate their financial exposure to cyber-attack. These include wind projects owned by leading firms such as Eolenerg and Molly Wind Ltd, who have either procured the coverage outright or included the product as part of their insurance renewal.

GCube’s research suggests that though cyber-attacks are estimated to be responsible for over $3trn in losses annually - and are set to rise - the cyber insurance market last year was only worth approximately $5 billion, with many insurers not yet providing cyber cover

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