Department of Energy

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Calls for Increased Investment to Enhance U.S. Energy Emergency Response

August 16, 2016

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SEATTLE – In his testimony before a field hearing held today by Ranking Member Maria Cantwell and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz called for increased investments in U.S. energy emergency response. Secretary Moniz highlighted DOE’s expanded emergency response responsibilities, and the need for comprehensive and coordinated response capabilities in the face of increasingly integrated energy systems and an evolving threat environment.

“The Department of Energy uses its expertise in transformative science and technology solutions to support and enhance our Nation’s emergency response capabilities. Through our private and public partnerships, we apply these solutions to prepare for emergencies, mitigate risks, and expedite restoration and recovery from incidents impacting the energy sector,” said Secretary Moniz in his testimony. “Looking ahead, Congress will be a key partner in ensuring that we strengthen our prevention and response capabilities.”

In order to better harden energy systems against attacks, today DOE announced up to $34 million in funding, subject to appropriations, for twelve projects representing energy sector organizations in nine states through the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s Cybersecurity of Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program.

The projects, which include two awards in Washington State, will include cybersecurity education for energy sector professionals and research and development of tools to strengthen protection of the nation’s energy infrastructure from cyberattacks. A detailed list of the award selections is available here.

As the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy approach, Secretary Moniz detailed DOE’s increased role in emergency response coordination as it relates to recovery from natural and manmade events such as severe weather, natural disasters, electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), the impacts of climate change, aging infrastructure and cyber threats. Secretary Moniz also described the essential operational priorities of the DOE and the urgency required to ensure that the agency can continue to serve its most critical functions in the face of increasingly dynamic threats.

In addition to looking at lessons learned from previous disasters, Secretary Moniz also highlighted the importance of emergency preparedness exercises to coordinate response to future disasters, such as Clear Path IV, held in April 2016 in Portland, Oregon and Washington, DC.

The Clear Path exercise scenario focused on identifying how DOE and our public-private energy stakeholders would coordinate in response to a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami stemming from the 700-mile long Cascadia Subduction Zone that stretches along the Washington and Oregon coasts. As a result of the exercise, the Energy Department is working with the Department of Homeland Security and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to provide damage assessments through advanced algorithms that analyze aerial imagery, highlighting the role of science and technology solutions.

For more information about DOE’s efforts to ensure a resilient, reliable, and flexible electricity system, visit Energy.gov.