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Resilience for Grid Security Emergencies: Opportunities for Industry-Government Collaboration


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The US Congress has opened the door to novel strategies for defending the country's electric grid. In the Fixing Americas Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which amended the Federal Power Act (FPA) in December 2015, Congress granted the secretary of energy vast new authorities to use when the president declares a grid security emergency. Most important, the secretary can issue emergency orders to power companies to protect and restore grid reliability when attacks on their systems are imminent or under way.1 The FPA is silent, however, on what the secretary might require companies to do and how such orders can bolster their emergency operations. The onset of an attack would be the worst possible time to develop emergency orders. Instead, before adversaries strike, power companies and government officials should partner to draft basic template orders to defend the grid. They could then adjust such orders to fit the specific circumstances of an attack. Developing emergency orders in advance would also help grid owners and operators create detailed, company-specific contingency plans to effectively implement them. Companies could then exercise their contingency plans to build preparedness for response operations and contribute to national security in unprecedented ways. This report is structured to help the electricity subsector and Department of Energy (DOE) develop emergency orders to defend the grid against potentially catastrophic cyber and physical attacks. The report highlights the phases that grid security emergencies are likely to entail. It analyzes the requirements that emergency orders will need to meet for each phase, and how orders can supplement existing utility plans and capabilities to fill gaps in grid resilience. The report also examines how emergency orders can strengthen deterrence against grid attacks and help defeat adversaries if deterrence fails.



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