Energy Security and Emergency Management

The full range of policies, processes, laws, bureaucracies and international institutions and agreements need to reflect the energy security realities and needs of today’s global energy systems. A clear message from QER 1.1, which focused on energy transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure, was that the world has moved beyond the oil-centric definition of energy security around which key global governance structures and emergency response mechanisms were established and sustained over the last 40 years.


This outdated framework is being replaced with a more expansive view of potential threats and risks to energy systems, and new options and actions to enhance the full range of energy supplies, support energy infrastructure security, and promote system and supply chain resilience. 

A modern view of energy security must also accommodate threats from climate change; new risks associated with limited sources of energy supplies and transmission routes; and the lack of transparency in key markets. In addition, it should promote the risk mitigation associated with energy efficiency, clean energy technology and policy innovation, and new approaches to emergency management. 

In 2014, after the Russian incursion in Ukraine, G-7 leaders adopted a broader, collective set of energy security principles that accommodate these issues and the range of concerns and needs described above. Also, the International Energy Agency recently analyzed natural gas security as gas-fired power generation grows and LNG markets expand, and is currently examining cyber-security and other issues associated with electricity. 

The increasing complexity and integration of energy systems also poses new domestic energy security challenges. The United States needs corresponding analyses to modernize its energy security and emergency management infrastructures, processes and procedures. 

The Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review 1.1 offers a range of options to enhance U.S. energy security, focused in large part on increasing infrastructure resilience in the face of with new threats and risks such as extreme weather associated with climate change, cyber-attacks on energy infrastructure, and low probability, high-consequence events such EMPs and GMDs; as well as on regional differences, needs and options for ensuring resilient, reliable supplies of energy. 

EFI notes ongoing national security concerns about the electricity grid and recommendations in QER 1.2 in this regard, including the need for clarification of existing authorities and for new authorities to address growing and new threats to the grid. These concerns are underscored by the recent North Korean threat of an EMP attack on the U.S. and a 2017 report on Operation Cloud Hopper that targeted managed IT providers, a common practice in the energy industry. The conclusion of this report: “This campaign serves to highlight the importance of organizations having a comprehensive view of their threat profile, including that of their supply chains. More broadly, it should also encourage organizations to fully assess the risk posed by their third-party relationships, and prompt them to take appropriate steps to assure and manage these.”  

Current domestic energy emergency policies and programs for the electric power sector and petroleum product distribution are narrowly focused, based on historical experience, and do not fully reflect the changing nature of risks and the increased interdependency among natural gas, electricity and petroleum markets. Recent legislation provides the basis for opening the aperture on the federal government’s emergency management responsibilities. QER 1.1 also offers important recommendations for enhancing energy infrastructure resiliency, noting the need to develop “tools, metrics and data to assess the resiliency, reliability, safety and security of energy infrastructures.”

Initial Projects for Energy Security and Emergency Management

 EFI will write select white papers and meet with stakeholders to discuss and develop projects from several priority options:

✓  EFI will provide analysis and a plan of action for how the responsibilities and recommendations in QER 1.1 and 1.2 on energy security and resilience should be implemented, and how emergency management should best be structured, including potential changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal emergency management structures.     

  EFI will develop strategies for reinforcing the value and continued implementation of the G-7 energy security principles.