Energy Storage Grand Challenge

Background: In January 2020, former Secretary Brouillette launched the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC), a cross-cutting initiative to create and sustain America’s global leadership in energy, while using a secure, domestic manufacturing supply chain that does not depend on foreign sources of critical materials. Throughout May, DOE held ESGC virtual, regional workshops to establish performance goals and a comprehensive R&D portfolio to achieve them. In July, the team released the ESGC draft roadmap and request for information to allow stakeholders to comment on the draft roadmap as well as its planned activities and tracks. Stakeholder input was integrated into the Final Roadmap which was released on December 21.

Critical Electric Infrastructure Information

Background: On Monday, March 16, 2020, DOE published a final rule to implement DOE’s critical electric infrastructure information (CEII) designation authority under the Federal Power Act. The CEII designation protects and secures critical information about the nation’s electric infrastructure as part of the Department’s commitment to improve energy security while ensuring a reliable and resilient flow of energy to America’s communities and businesses. In this final rule, DOE establishes administrative procedures for how the Department will designate and protect CEII. The rule also provides procedures for DOE coordination with other federal agency partners and industry to facilitate mutual understanding and information sharing as it may relate to CEII.

Grid Storage Launchpad

Background: DOE’s Office of Electricity selected Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington, as the site for the Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL). GSL is a national grid energy storage R&D facility that includes investments from the State of Washington, Battelle, and PNNL. On August 14, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette took part in a dedication ceremony for the GSL and presided over a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between Office of Electricity Assistant Secretary Bruce Walker and Dr. Lisa Brown from the Washington State Department of Commerce. The GSL will help ensure the Department succeeds in strengthening the resilience of the grid to withstand the tests and challenges of the future, while ensuring that Americans continue to enjoy the benefits of our Nation’s energy abundance.

Bulk Power System Executive Order

Background: On May 1 former President Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13920, "Securing the United States Bulk-Power System, " which authorizes the U.S. Secretary of Energy to work with Federal partners and the energy industry to secure America’s Bulk-Power System (BPS). The EO declares threats to the bulk-power system by foreign adversaries constitute a national emergency. In July 2020 DOE announced a Request for Information to solicit views on safeguarding the bulk-power system supply chain from threats and vulnerabilities. On December 17, Secretary Brouillette issued a prohibition order related to the EO, “Prohibition Order Securing Critical Defense Facilities” The order applies to a limited number of utilities and specific BPS electric equipment from the People’s Republic of China that poses an undue risk to the BPS, the security or resilience of critical infrastructure, the economy, national security, or safety and security of Americans.

Internet of Things

Background: The Internet of Things (IoT) funding opportunity is a $6.7 million investment in four university-led research projects to design and develop approaches to integrate IoT technologies. These projects focus on providing the energy infrastructure community with robust, scalable methods to interface with advanced IoT technologies.  In addition, the Office of Electricity partnered with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to release a Connected Communities funding opportunity that will demonstrate how next generation technologies and technical assistance partnerships with the private sector and at all levels of government can improve the security, reliability, resilience, and blackstart capability of the grid, in particular the nation’s critical energy infrastructure. Proposals for this funding opportunity will be due in 2021.

North American Energy Resilience Model

Background: The North American Energy Resilience Model (NAERM) provides a comprehensive resilience modeling system for the North American energy sector and its associated infrastructure. This effort will advance existing capabilities to model, simulate, and assess the behavior of electric power systems, as well as associated dependencies on natural gas, and other critical energy infrastructures. In 2020, the NAERM ecosystem was implemented in a secure environment and is operating in a verification mode for the Modeling and Analytic system better known as the “Static Model” and the streaming model “ RealTime.” This streaming model shows real time situational awareness, pre/post event modeling for resiliency and restoration from threats, and interdependencies to the ‘grid” nation-wide.