On April 18, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the key findings, proposed actions, and recommendations resulting from “Liberty Eclipse,” a multi-state cyber-energy emergency exercise co-hosted by DOE and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) in December 2016. The exercise promoted state and local government and private sector preparedness for future energy emergencies - involving petroleum products, natural gas, electricity and other energy resources - stemming from a cyber incident. To download DOE’s report click here.
The exercise convened officials from State Energy Offices; Public Utility Commissions; State Emergency Management Agencies; private sector energy supply owners and operators; DOE and other federal agency representatives; and critical energy infrastructure stakeholders. It simulated a cyber incident disrupting the energy infrastructure of several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, including electricity, gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil, and other energy services. Liberty Eclipse was also developed in response to direction from Congress under the bipartisan Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or FAST Act. The FAST Act calls for, among other things, increased engagement among DOE, states and the oil and gas industry on developing energy assurance (or emergency) plans, training, and exercises.
David Terry, Executive Director of NASEO, commented, “the results of this exercise reaffirm the importance of energy emergency mitigation and response planning. This type of planning enhances states’ capacity to respond to energy supply disruptions, facilitates sharing of best practices, and aides in identifying ways to mitigate risks in the future. States use U.S. State Energy Program (SEP) funds-at the direction of their governors-to meet a variety of state-set energy priorities including energy emergency planning and response.”
In carrying out this work for their governors, State Energy Offices and their partners engage with experts from DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and the private sector to support Emergency Support Function #12 (the federal emergency support function for energy) through actions such as the Liberty Eclipse Exercise. This critical state-federal-private function aids in protecting the health, safety, and livelihoods of citizens and businesses across the nation.
Actions such as those exercised at Liberty Eclipse enhance future energy emergency and cyber incident coordination and response among the federal government, states, and private sector. This coordination improves improve the resilience of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure which spans complex oil, natural gas, propane, and electricity markets.