A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlights 27 federal efforts to enhance the resilience of the national electric power grid. The programs cover a range of activities, including emergency preparedness, research and development, modeling and analytics, standards setting, information sharing, institutional support and regulatory guidance. The report was prepared for the Honorable Don Beyer (D-Va.-8th), the ranking member of the House Science Subcommittee on Oversight.
GAO found that the 27 efforts were fragmented, in that they were implemented by three different agencies – the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – and addressed the same broad area of national need: enhancing the resilience of the electricity grid. However, GAO concluded that efforts were tailored to specific agency missions and weren’t duplicative in nature.
For example, three DOE and DHS efforts addressed resiliency issues related to large, high-power transformers, but the goals were distinct-one effort focused on developing a rapidly deployable transformer to use in the event of multiple large, high-power transformer failures; another focused on developing next-generation transformer components with more resilient features; and a third focused on developing a plan for a national transformer reserve.
In addition, agency officials reported coordinating their federal grid resiliency efforts, including serving on formal coordinating bodies that bring together federal, state and industry stakeholders to discuss resiliency issues on a regular basis, and contributing to the development of federal plans that address grid resiliency gaps and priorities.
For a copy of the GAO study, go to: http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/682270.pdf