Department of Energy

Administration Releases Second Installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review

January 6, 2017

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WASHINGTON – Today, the Administration released the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focuses on the national security, environmental protection, and economic development imperatives of the electricity system in the United States. More than 70 recommendations are proposed to enable the electricity sector to manage the risks and opportunities of the 21st Century through policy change and R&D investments.

The second installment of the QER, titled “Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System”, is a thorough, analytically rigorous treatment of the nation’s electricity systems from generation, through transmission and distribution to the ultimate end use by consumers.

The electricity sector is experiencing rapid changes that are testing traditional regulatory frameworks and creating new and more complex interdependencies.  Almost every economic sector is reliant on a more interconnected, data-driven, and electricity dependent system. The increased digitization of the electricity sector brings multiple consumer and system benefits, and creates new and more severe vulnerabilities to cyber attacks.

There are 76 recommendations in the QER, including recommendations to:

  • Amend Federal Power Act authorities, including new authorities under the FAST Act, to clarify and affirm that the electricity system – from bulk power to the distribution -- is a national security asset, making its protection a fundamental federal responsibility.
  • Collect information on a confidential basis to inform the President about emergency actions and imminent threats to the electric grid to meet statutory responsibilities under the FAST Act.
  • Adopt integrated electricity security planning and standards on a regional basis through a FERC-rulemaking to assist DOE in carrying out its authorities to address national security imperatives to protect the electricity systems under the FAST Act. 
  • Materially expand existing federal programs to demonstrate the integration and optimization of distribution-system technologies.   Recipients of program awards would include
  • Increase Federal support for state efforts to quantitatively value and incorporate energy efficiency, demand response, distributed storage, and distributed generation into resource planning.
  • Significantly increase Federal investment in clean electricity RD&D and implement regional clean energy innovation partnerships.
  • Support grants for small utilities facing cyber, physical, and climate threats and accounting for emerging threats in reliability planning.
  • Extend the timeframe and total capacity allowed for under the production tax credit for nuclear power generation.
  • Increase federal support for state efforts to quantitatively value and incorporate energy efficiency, demand response, distributed storage and distributed generation into resource planning.
  • Assess business model inequities associated with Federal electricity financial incentives and public-private partnerships to include an examination of the usage of tax credits for tax-exempt entities.
  • Support Federal and regional approaches to electricity workforce development and transition assistance.
  • Increase North American clean energy and technical coordination and enhancing cooperation on energy information exchange across North America.

The first installment of the QER – “Energy Transmission, Storage, and Distribution Infrastructure” – was published in April 2015 and focused on the infrastructures that transmit, store, and distribute our energy – the pipes, wires, rail, highways, and waterways, and associated vessels, vehicles, and rolling stock – without which the Nation’s energy systems would not function. Of the initial report’s 63 recommendations, 21 are fully or partially reflected in Federal law and 29 have been fully implemented through actions by the Administration. The bipartisan support that many recommendations received on Capitol Hill underscores the shared interest of Congress and the Administration to improve the Nation’s energy infrastructure.

To review the report and related analyses, visit energy.gov/QER.