- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will spearhead the development of a North American Energy Resilience Model (NAERM), designed to "proactively anticipate damage to energy system equipment," predict associated blackouts and help with recovery.
- DOE's Office of Electricity (OE) will coordinate its efforts with the national laboratories and the energy sector, and said next steps include "extensive industry engagement" to ensure best practices are included in the model.
- OE issued a report on its plans to develop the NAERM earlier this month, citing growing threats to the nation's grid and the range of critical infrastructure that relies on electricity, from banking and water distribution to telecommunications.
OE Assistant Secretary Bruce Walker has prioritized the development of NAERM, which he describes as a "first-of-its-kind tool" to improve energy resilience and national security.
"The ultimate goal of the project is to provide real-time situational awareness and analysis capabilities for emergency events and optimal operations and recovery, enabling the federal government and industry to quickly and effectively prepare and respond," Walker wrote in a July 24 blog post.
In April, Walker wrote that the resilience model will provide "enhanced real-time situational awareness and analysis capabilities for emergency events," which would allow the federal government to prepare and respond more quickly and effectively.
"The United States is increasingly experiencing threats, natural and man-made," according to the report, including hurricanes, flooding, cyberattacks and electromagnetic pulses. The model will "enable prediction of the impact of threats, evaluation and identification of effective mitigation strategies, and support for black start planning, benefiting the United States by enhancing energy and economic security."
OE's report on the development of a model includes the United States and interconnected portions of Canada and Mexico.
The NAERM will be developed in two phases, with the first focused on long-term energy planning.
By the end of the first phase, OE's report says the NAERM should be able to assess the expected consequences from a range of scenarios. By the end of the second phase, the NAERM will be a "situational awareness model capable of analyzing the power system, predicting potential threat consequences, and providing recommended mitigating actions."
OE said timelines for each of the phases will be defined through "additional planning and technical progress," and that next steps include engaging with industry experts to better understand issues and practices on a regional basis.
DOE has been expanding its efforts on energy resilience. Earlier this month, the department began seeking public comment on how the electric grid and oil and gas pipelines can be made more resilient to severe weather events like windstorms, floods, wildfires and other disasters.