Growing interest in smart grid deployments worldwide will motivate various market segments to spend $6.5 billion globally on securing them between 2010 and 2015, according to a research firm.

The estimate came in Pike Research’s newest smart grid cyber-security report issued this month, the executive summary of which is currently available for free download. In a previous report, Pike claimed that worldwide cyber-security investment by utilities on the smart grid would grow to $21 billion by 2015. That figure has been lowered significantly in the company’s most recent update on the subject.

The new figure assumes that companies will spend a lower percentage of their dollars — about 3 to 5 percent — on cyber-security than the prior estimate, which was about 15 percent, according to Bob Lockhart, the researcher who worked on the latest edition.

“I think we’re in the line of reality now. That works really well for everybody,” he said.

Electric Vehicle Security Spending

Lockhart, who said he was not involved in the earlier report on cyber-security spending predictions, also offered additional predictions for the smart grid when he spoke to Government Technology.

“If you look at something like electric vehicles, I expect to see a lot more spent on electric vehicle security in 2015 than right now just because it’s a new market. It’s just starting up,” he said.

The most recent executive summary takes into account a wide number of sectors participating in security spending, including telecommunications and IT providers, which are expected to make up the largest share of the projected spending — generating about 35 percent of the total smart grid cyber-security revenue by 2015.

A wider deployment of smart grid technology will require different technology work units to cooperate more often, which may create culture shock. The Pike Research summary said that the computer IT and computer operations groups often don’t understand each other well enough to make cooperation easy.

“They just have a different background, so it’s hard for the two to find a common ground to talk about it,” Lockhart said.

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.