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Energy Dept. report highlights new threats to electric grid

Energy Dept. report highlights new threats to electric grid
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A new Obama administration report on the country’s energy system released Friday is looking to shine a spotlight on vulnerabilities and threats to the electricity grid.

The nearly 500-page report from the Department of Energy (DOE) is the second piece of what the agency is dubbing the Quadrennial Energy Review, an opportunity for federal officials to take deep dives into energy policy issues and provide recommendations to lawmakers and regulators.

Cybersecurity threats are central to the report, which explores the benefits and risks of the increasing integration between technology and the electric grid.

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“On the one side there’s the value creation, and on the other side, there is the security aspects of making sure that we benefit from the capabilities that we are being offered through this convergence of electricity and information, in ways that we can protect those values,” Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dems press Trump consumer safety nominee on chemical issues | Lawmakers weigh how to help struggling energy industry | 180 Democrats ask House leadership for clean energy assistance Lawmakers weigh how to help struggling energy industry The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE said at a Capitol Hill briefing Friday morning on the report.

The report, coming just two weeks before President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE takes office, serves in part as an Obama administration wish list for the next administration and the GOP-controlled Congress going forward.

Other subjects in the report include ensuring a diverse mix of energy sources in the electric grid, how to ensure that the industry maintains the workforce it needs, and how to best serve rural and tribal customers.

“As a critical and essential national asset, it is a strategic imperative to protect and enhance the value of the electricity system through modernization and transformation,” the report reads. “Reliable and affordable electricity provides essential energy services for consumers, business, and national defense.”

The DOE report makes more than 70 recommendations to policymakers, including declaring that the electric grid is a national security asset and deserves that heightened level of protection, boosting federal support to state efforts to reduce electricity demand and providing grants for small utilities to increase grid security.

The first installment of the report, from April 2015, included 63 recommendations, 21 of which Congress has enacted.