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With financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s  State Energy Program, within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the Tennessee State Energy Office, in collaboration with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the National Association of State Energy Officials, conducted Mission Moon Pie: A Fuel Shortage Exercise and Workshop—named after Tennessee’s confection, the Moon Pie, to sweeten the deal.

EERE's State Energy Program provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. SEP emphasizes the state’s role as the decision maker and administrator for program activities within the state that are tailored to their unique resources, delivery capacity, and energy goals.

The Tennessee-led Fuel Shortage Exercise and Workshop boasted almost 70 participants from federal and state agencies, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private-sector fuel companies. Participants discussed energy resiliency, the federal role in preparedness efforts, regional grid hardening efforts, potential cybersecurity threats, and the fuel supply chain and potential vulnerabilities in the system.

“After the Nashville-area fuel shortage in 2016, we wanted to gather stakeholders to promote awareness on key issues and become better prepared for a long-term fuel disruption in the region,” said Ben Bolton, energy programs administrator for the Tennessee State Energy Office and Tennessee’s primary emergency services coordinator for Emergency Support Function 12—Energy. “This exercise was a major step forward in developing a better emergency response at all levels of government.”

Energy representatives from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania convened with federal, state, local government, and industry colleagues to discuss strengthening energy resiliency and emergency response to situations like fuel shortages and cybersecurity threats. States identified agency roles and responsibilities, improved communication and coordination in the event of a fuel shortage, and developed response options for extended fuel shortages.

Participants also exercised potential disaster scenarios involving cyberattacks, power outages, severe weather, and a prolonged fuel shortage. Through these exercises, participants were given the opportunity to learn about and share feedback regarding potential actions their federal, state, local, and industry colleagues may take during such emergencies. These valuable insights will help the State of Tennessee develop and improve and its preparedness and response efforts.