Protecting the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure: States Address Energy Security

October 2013

By Kristy Hartman

Securing the nation’s energy supply and protecting energy infrastructure is a major concern given the nation’s dependence on reliable and uninterrupted energy delivery. The nation’s energy system faces many risks, including natural disasters, energy supply disruptions, cyber attacks and deliberate acts of terrorism.  The U.S. relies on coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power and renewable sources to generate electricity, provide transportation, heat and cool buildings and keep industries operating. A disruption in one part of this complex and interconnected network can easily impact other parts of the system, resulting in serious human and economic consequences.

State policymakers are concerned about the impact these disruptions could have on the economy, public health and safety and the environment. More than 80 percent of the energy infrastructure is owned and managed by the private sector, so modernizing and protecting the energy system will require a coordinated effort between federal, state and local officials as well as private entities. State policies play a critical role in energy security by ensuring that energy infrastructure is resilient and that officials can quickly respond to shortages, disruptions and emergencies.

States are addressing energy security in a variety of ways. Legislation introduced this session aims to address potential energy shortages and develop strategies to improve the response to energy emergencies, enhance U.S. energy security by reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, incentivize the increased use of biofuel to mitigate the impact of volatile global oil prices, provide additional regulation and investment to ensure electricity reliability and mitigate other critical energy infrastructure threats.

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