After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Department of Energy (DoE) asked the National Petroleum Council (NPC) to provide specific actionable steps to better prepare the oil and natural gas industry’s response to natural disasters. In response, the NPC released “Enhancing Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disasters” in 2014, which included a series of recommendations for emergency preparedness, response and recovery in the oil and natural gas industry. A key finding? That effective communications during emergency response is a major challenge for the industry and that a standardized, rehearsed approach toward communications that addresses escalated and expanding responses as an event unfolds is critical.
For more than a decade, the energy and utilities industry has been investing in smarter energy infrastructure in order to enhance energy grid resiliency, reliability and efficiency. Grid modernization has become essential to integrating an increasing number of renewable energy sources and technologies – or distributed energy sources (DERs) – including electric vehicles, energy storage, private solar and smart appliances.
In February 2018, the United States Department of Energy established the new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER), focused on cybersecurity, energy security and emergency response with $96 million in government funding – and not a moment too soon. One month later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert alleging that Russian hackers mounted a methodical, long-term campaign to infiltrate and surveil critical US energy and utility infrastructure.