Cleantech is part of the Energy Industry, a critical part of the US infrastructure, and keeping it current is a central part of upcoming legislation. Legislation that most likely will give preference to cleantech. Because of this, there are significant institutions and rules concerned with the Security of the industry.  Security regarding attacks, espionage, and personal data. If you are building a solution or product to work with this growing area, you need to take steps now to ensure your product complies.  It will keep opportunities to work with Utilities like SMUD, System operators, and behind-the-meter residential open to you. 

We have talked about it before with SMUD’s Director of Cybersecurity and Chief Information Security Officer, Antoin Jacobs.  We want to highlight that, like legal and accounting, Security is critical to winning growth opportunities. We talked with GridSME’s CEO John Frazino about what companies need to consider. Frazino highlighted that it is not just security of passwords but also security in the procurement, networking devices, and controllers.  If you are looking at hardware and just go with the cheapest vendor, you risk not complying with security audits.  Cheap solutions from countries designated as foreign adversaries will exclude your company from competing for proposals from pretty much anyone.

Knowing your vendor’s security efforts, documenting yours, and being vigilant is just the start of wise precautions to take. SMUD addresses security proactively with authority given to teams enabling them to force requirements.  With SMUD looking behind the meter, with their “Bring your own device” proposal (See SMUD Zero Emissions Proposal), I can pretty much guarantee there will be additional security rules protecting ratepayers’ information.  Meaning when building any solution, companies will be scrutinized to prove they are taking proper security steps.

All of these security measures are directly impacted by federal rules and regulations.  It is essential to have a team with current knowledge of them.  CleanStart supporter MossAdams has experience in Energy, Accounting, AND Security.  We are also putting on a CleanStart Perspectives, April 8th, with GridSME, who consult heavily on everything related to the Electric Grid, including Security.


Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

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