How DOE Prepares for Any and All Hazards | Clear Path VIII Outcomes

When disaster strikes, whether it be a hurricane, wildfire, domestic terrorism, or earthquake, chaos and confusion can exacerbate a situation that already has the potential to cause significant damage to U.S. critical infrastructure. That’s why emergency planning is crucial to effective disaster response and recovery.

Clear Path is CESER’s annual all-hazards energy security and resilience exercise series. Since 2013, Clear Path has brought together over 1000 energy sector partners to update policies and procedures, identify areas for collective improvement, and strengthen coordination during a catastrophic incident. 

In Fall 2020, Clear Path VIII brought together over 200 energy sector partners in a virtual environment to simulate the energy sector’s response roles, responsibilities, plans, and procedures. The 2020 scenario was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that severely affected critical infrastructure and public safety across Utah. The exercise used scenario-based activities to stimulate conversation and stressed interdependencies across multiple critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, communications, water, and transportation.  

The Clear Path VIII After Action Report, released in March 2021, presents the findings participants agreed were necessary to improve emergency planning and sustain U.S. critical infrastructure during a disruptive incident. Participants agreed that despite the challenges of 2020, mutual aid programs helped the industry make great strides. However, they also agreed that restoration was often prolonged due to the energy sector’s reliance on only a few specialized vendors for resources. “It is important that energy providers coordinate pre-incident with government partners to prioritize infrastructure restoration projects to help alleviate the competition for resources,” the report said.  

Read the Clear Path VIII After Action Report for additional details, including the event’s objectives, summary, and additional areas of strength and improvement identified by participants. For more information about how CESER is planning a coordinated response to emergencies, visit CESER’s Exercises and Training page.