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Our American States

podcastOur focus on this podcast is the resilience of our electrical grid and systems in the face of extreme weather events and cyber threats. Just this summer, there’s been major flooding in Kentucky and Texas, extreme heat across the country and in Europe, and growing concern about wildfires in the western U.S.

State legislatures play a key role in shaping state policies that improve the security and resilience of energy systems. States also partner with federal agencies to identify risks, mitigate threats, and respond to disruptions.

To learn more about the state-federal partnership, we talked with two officials from the Office Of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, or CESER, at the U.S. Department of Energy. Ken Buell is the deputy director and Brandi Martin manages the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Program.

Buell and Martin discussed how CESER responds to natural and man-made threats, how the office works with legislatures and other state entities, and the value of teaming up with state and local partners both during an emergency and at other times. They also highlighted efforts states are making to make their electrical systems more resilient.

Brandi Martin, CESERKen Buell, CESER






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Much of the nation’s network of electricity generation, transmission and distribution resources is aging and major upgrades are needed to for new technologies, changing market dynamics and shifting consumer preferences. This analysis comes from a new NCSL report, “Modernizing the Electric Grid: State Role and Policy Options.”

States are finding a challenge in keeping up with the way technology impacts our power grids, particularly those that still rely on larger power plants. “The challenge facing state policymakers is how to craft policies that promote cost-effective investment in the electric system while allowing innovative technologies and new energy management approaches to flourish and compete in a rapidly shifting environment,” says the report.

Our guest is Glen Andersen, who is the energy program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and one of the authors of the report. He talks about how new technologies affect public policy, how consumers are creating their own power, how smarter household appliances, electrical gadgets and electric vehicles affect the grid.

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