At the BTC company, we believe that there is no future without digital technology, which is why we actively collaborate in projects opening doors to innovative solutions. That said, we are well aware that in addition to new opportunities, technology also brings new risks. With BTC City Ljubljana, we are actively involved in the European project Phoenix H2020, which aims to improve cybersecurity.

The EU-funded project Phoenix H2020 aims to improve the cybersecurity of European electrical power energy systems (EPES) by developing different tools, software and hardware. BTC City Ljubljana is taking part in the project as a solution test site, one of the five European Large Scale Pilots (other participating countries include Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Germany and Romania) helping to test solutions and measure their effectiveness in real-world scenarios. The expected effects of the project are: improved cybersecurity of electrical power energy systems, lower electricity costs and new cybersecurity know-how.

Damjan Kralj, M.Sc., CEO of the BTC company: “At the BTC company, we want to be an active player in the integration of digital technology in business and the everyday lives of our users, but we also don’t want this to adversely affect our customers’ business security or privacy. Partnership in Phoenix H2020 is preparing us for a safe digital transformation in so far as our business is linked to the electrical energy power system. We believe that the project will have many important wide-reaching effects benefitting the Slovenian electrical energy power system and improving the industry’s as well as the citizens’ trust in digital tools and services.”

In addition to the BTC company, other Slovenian partners in Phoenix H2020 include Iskraemeco, Comsensus and Elektro Ljubljana. Iskraemeco will install smart meters for the measurement of electrical power consumption, which will be able to detect data transmission anomalies, including potential cyber attacks targeting the electrical energy power system. In cooperation with Comsensus, tools will be implemented for enforcing cybersecurity measures to ensure the security of links between Elektro Ljubljana’s supervisory (SCADA) systems and the BTC company in order to establish the so-called demand-response functionality.

The project, which started in September 2019 and will end in August 2022, is currently in the smart meter installation phase, in which smart meters with two types of devices for ensuring data transmission security are being installed. The installation is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2021 and will be followed by equipment functionality testing.

Janez Povše, MA, Director of the Energy Management and Technical Department at the BTC company has highlighted the incredible importance of the security of electrical energy grids: “In our BTC City shopping centres in Ljubljana, Murska Sobota and Novo mesto, and at the site of the BTC Logistics Centre, we manage an extensive electrical power grid, which includes 15 substations and over 450 measuring points. The security and uninterrupted operation of this complex grid is incredibly important for us and our business partners. Partnership in Phoenix H2020 enables us to test solutions for an even better cybersecurity of the electrical power energy system together with renowned companies at the pinnacle of the relevant technical know-how in Slovenia.”

Tomaž Dostal, Head of Research and Development at Iskraemeco added: “Data security is one of the pivotal components of Iskraemeco’s business activities, which is why we continuously integrate and upgrade our security along the entire chain of communication. Since our measuring instruments are a constituent part of the electrical power infrastructure, we saw in Phoenix H2020 an incredible opportunity to integrate our cybersecurity know-how into our products and solutions, providing the community, the environment, electricity companies and end users with energy efficiency and an uninterrupted product chain. With its progressive attitude and readiness to cooperate, the BTC company is an ideal partner for the pilot testing and demonstration of solutions in real-world scenarios.”

Partnership in Phoenix H2020 is a continuation of BTC’s active participation in similar groundbreaking technological projects, such as: the strategic smart grid project NEDO, the European project Matrycs H2020 for the development of big data applications for energy supply optimisation in buildings, and Creators H2020 for the development of local community energy systems. The BTC company is taking part in these projects by offering BTC City Ljubljana as a test site for the development and validation of new technological solutions.