Brouillette explains administration’s “resiliency” position

Source: By Kelsey Tamborrino, Politico • Posted: Monday, June 25, 2018

A lot has been said about grid “resiliency” and national security in light of the Trump administration’s calls to help struggling coal and nuclear power plants, possibly through the Defense Production Act and the Federal Power Act’s 202(c) authorities. Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette tells Pro’s Darius Dixon that criticisms the Energy Department has shifted its arguments to focus on national security aren’t correct — and the debate has been a long time coming. Here are some takeaways from that sit-down.

— On the conversation shift to national security: “There’s been no shift. That’s just an inaccurate characterization of the continuous work that’s being done here at the department. I understand why folks with certain interests may want to characterize the work that way. From the very earliest days of the secretary’s tenure here, and certainly of mine, we have been focused on the entirety of the energy world. We have very specific requirements under the law to do things like inventory critical infrastructure, particularly the infrastructure that serves our military installations. We take that role very seriously. We’ve done that from Day One.”

— On resilience: “In the opinion of many policymakers, the problem has gotten a bit worse. It is beginning to have an impact on the security of our infrastructure. I want to make sure this is clear. Is it an economic security issue that we’re talking about? The answer to that is ‘probably’ at this point. If we’re talking about reliability, the lights still come on. But if you’re talking about resilience, we’re coming to a point where we as a country are going to have to address the resilience of our grid. I would hope that FERC would join in on the conversation. I would candidly hope that Congress would join in on this conversation, should they choose to do so.”

 On a final decision: “The National Security Council and, in particular, the deputies level … have been very active and there’s been a very engaging debate about the threat and what it means for the resilience of the grid. There’s not a debate about whether or not there is a threat. There has been no decision and we’re not just working backward. We’re not trying to justify a decision that was made by anyone.” Read the full interview here.