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On March 28, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) held a joint technical conference to discuss and gain a stronger understanding of the types of cyber and physical security threats to electric transmission and natural gas pipeline infrastructure, and explore how federal and state commission authorities can provide incentives and cost recovery mechanisms for security investments in energy infrastructure. Specifically, the technical conference discussed: (1) the need for security investments that go beyond existing reliability standards; (2) how the costs of such investments can be recoverable; and (3) whether additional incentives for making such investments are needed, and if so, how such incentives should be designed.

Panel I discussed the types of cyber and physical security that are most concerning for the energy industry, best practices for prioritizing and mitigating such risks, and techniques for industry and government engagement. Panelists described and evaluated vulnerabilities threating private sector energy infrastructure as well as potential approaches to combat cyber and physical security threats. Panelists also discussed whether FERC should play a more active role in encouraging energy infrastructure owners and operators to develop more advanced security measures to strengthen existing critical infrastructure, supply chain, and cybersecurity initiatives.

Panel II discussed whether and how federal and state authorities should provide incentives and cost recovery for security investments in energy infrastructure. Panelists discussed whether current cost recovery policies at both the federal and state level are enough to encourage investment in cyber and physical security energy infrastructure and what other methods are available for FERC to incentivize utilities to exceed the minimum requirements of the reliability standards for the benefit of consumers.

FERC has invited interested parties to submit comments in response to topics discussed in the FERC/DOE’s Security Investments for Energy Infrastructure Technical Conference under FERC Docket No. AD19-12-000.

The FERC/DOE’s Security Investments for Energy Infrastructure Technical Conference Agenda is available here.

For more information on the FERC/DOE Security Investments for Energy Infrastructure Technical Conference, please contact Kristen Connolly McCullough or Clarence Hawkes III.