VDE Press Dialogue at Hannover Messe 2022

In the picture from left to right: Ansgar Hinz (CEO of the VDE Group), Marten Jensen (Managing Partner GreenTEC Campus), Burkhard Holder (Managing Director VDE Renewables), Holger Berens (Chairman of the Board Federal Association for Critical Infrastructure Protection) talk with Prof. Tonio Buonassisi (Global Head Solar Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who joined from Boston, about solutions in view of the major challenges posed by the energy transition.

| Hannibal / VDE
2022-05-30 press release

Cybersecurity and shortage of skilled workers biggest challenge for energy transition

  • Now train career changers, for example from the Rhenish coalfield, to become specialists in the field of cybersecurity for energy plants
  • VDE, GreenTEC Campus and BSKI develop IT training program
  • No hardware, no software: Number of engineers in electrical and mechanical engineering must increase
Press Officer

While computer science is attracting ever greater numbers due to "hip topics" such as artificial intelligence or big data, the numbers in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering are falling. In electrical engineering in particular, the gap between the successful training of students and the rising demand is assuming dramatic proportions. This is the conclusion of the VDE study Labor Market 2022.
The fact is that, analogous to the trend of software-driven engineering, the share of hardware is growing as an important integral component. Software does not work without high-end hardware. "We need a change of image in electrical engineering to encourage more students to study. At the same time, math skills need to be increased in high schools; the dropout rate is too high at over 50% in electrical engineering," Burkhard Holder of VDE Renewables quoted from the VDE study. The fact is that there is no software without hardware.

Cybersecurity: VDE, BSKI and GreenTEC Campus train career changers

With the energy transition, the degree of digitization is increasing. As the number of decentralized structures increases, so does the risk of disruption. Wind farms in particular offer hackers a target. "If we don't step up our game here and train specialists, I foresee serious problems from cyberattacks that could, for example, put entire wind farms out of operation and then lead to blackouts as a result," said Marten Jensen of GreenTEC Campus. To make sure that doesn't happen, his campus is currently working with VDE and BSKI to build IT training programs on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection. Now all that's left is to find those interested in the training.
The three organizations see great potential among employees in the Rhenish lignite mining region. "Not everyone has to be a computer scientist. We train lateral entrants in our IT training programs for cyber security and critical infrastructure protection accordingly for their jobs," explain VDE, GreenTEC Campus and BSKI in unison. Together with the Quirinus Academy at the BSKI office in the lignite mining area, the corresponding programs are being set up on site. In 2021, about 18,000 people (including employees in general supply lignite-fired power plants) were employed in lignite mining in Germany (Statista 2022). Concrete further training is needed here to meet the challenges in the lignite mining area. Above all, municipalities are critical infrastructures, as they are responsible for providing services of general interest to the population, including hospitals, water and municipal utilities. A security network would have to be set up within the municipalities to develop a centralized defense strategy. And this requires personnel.

Investors and insurers demand standards and certification

In order to provide additional protection for regional and local energy supply and to give investors and insurers security, VDE, the companies in the energy industry and the German Federal Ministry of Economics are currently defining the technical cornerstones and the resulting standards of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). "We want to give investors, insurers and the industry confidence in their decision-making with implemented security processes and methods and a professionally conducted certification of the processes, e.g. according to ISO 27001," explained Burkhard Holder, VDE Renewables.

About VDE

VDE, one of the largest technology organizations in Europe, has been regarded as a synonym for innovation and technological progress for more than 130 years. VDE is the only organization in the world that combines science, standardization, testing, certification, and application consulting under one umbrella. The VDE mark has been synonymous with the highest safety standards and consumer protection for more than 100 years. 

Our passion is the advancement of technology, the next generation of engineers and technologists, and lifelong learning and career development “on the job”. Within the VDE network more than 2,000 employees at over 60 locations worldwide, more than 100,000 honorary experts, and around 1,500 companies are dedicated to ensuring a future worth living: networked, digital, electrical.  
Shaping the e-dialistic future. 

The VDE (VDE Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies) is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. For more information, visit www.vde.com