Energy Assurance projects align with Clean Energy Plan Recommendation E, Strengthen the resilience and flexibility of the grid.
State Emergency Response Team (SERT)
During SERT activations by NC Emergency Management (NCEM) for energy emergencies, the State Energy Office (SEO) serves as the lead technical agency for Emergency Support Function-12 (ESF-12, energy) in collaboration with NCEM who serves as the Lead State Agency. The SEO is a member of SERT’s Infrastructure Support Group before, during, and activations. Its key SERT role is performing as the liaison to the energy industry (electric & petroleum) for North Carolina energy providers.
Prior to a SERT activation the SEO:
- Participates in NCEM’s emergency drills, meetings, and resource requests
- Maintains awareness of NC energy supplies through regular communications with energy providers
- Monitors and reports any observed abnormal energy conditions in the state
- Identifies what impacts an observed energy supply change may have on each supply sector and the state
- Reviews and maintains familiarity with EM’s Emergency Operations Plan and the NC Energy Assurance Plan
During a SERT activation the SEO:
- Is on-site at NCEM’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) collecting and analyzing energy data
- Provides energy status updates
- Recommends actions to mitigate the emergency event’s effects
- Provides NCEM’s PIO with public message input as requested
- Relays SERT priorities to the energy industry and provides them with restoration assistance information
- Assists with energy resource requests
- If requested by SERT leadership, recommends energy conservation plans
Energy Emergency Working Group (EEWG) Initiative
The State Energy Office (SEO) in partnership with NC Emergency Management (NCEM), hosts quarterly meetings of the Energy Emergency Working Group (EEWG). The EEWG members include representatives of electric and natural utilities, petroleum pipelines and providers, communication companies, the U.S. Departments of Energy and Homeland Security, the NC Departments of Transportation, Administration, Commerce/Utilities Commission, Public Safety, Environmental Quality, and others.
The goal of the EEWG meetings is to collaborate and maintain relationships with energy-related professionals and organizations to identify new energy assurance concepts, ideas, and plans for improving NC’s energy emergency mitigation, response, and recovery. The professional relationships resulting from EEWG meetings have allowed the SEO to become more familiar with North Carolina’s energy infrastructure. For example, the EEWG was invited to tour the Colonial Pipeline terminal in Greensboro to better understand how Colonial operates on a daily basis.
Energy Assurance Tabletop (TTX) Exercises
The SEO works in conjunction with NC Emergency Management (NCEM) to develop and execute energy-related tabletop (TTX) exercises. TTXs are discussion-based exercises that respond to a pre-determined scenario. They are intended to generate discussions on various issues to facilitate a conceptual understanding, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and/or achieve changes in perceptions about plans, policies, or procedures. Two previously held TTXs addressed scenarios related to a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that may impact NC.
The following TTX’s are currently being planned:
- The SEO and NCEM will host a Petroleum Disruption TTX in late September. Its focus will be a cyber security attack on NC’s petroleum/motor fuel pipeline supply.
- A Natural Gas Disruption TTX is being planned by the SEO and NCEM in 2022.
NC Energy Assurance Plan (NCEAP)
The SEO began developing the NCEAP according to a directive from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The NCEAP was developed to strengthen and expand state energy assurance planning. The approved NCEAP has been integrated into the North Carolina Emergency Operations Plan (NCEOP) of NC Emergency Management (NCEM).
The NCEAP establishes a comprehensive framework that will assist in all phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The Plan:
- Identifies legal authorities and responsibilities of energy stakeholders;
- Describes relationships and lines of communication between federal, state, local, and private sector stakeholders;
- Works in conjunction with the NCEOP, developed and maintained by the NCEM;
- Describes NC’s energy profile through a discussion of key demographics, historical energy consumption, and past disruptive energy events;
- Incorporates a disruption tracking process intended to identify energy disruptions before they become large-scale events;
- Suggests mechanisms for responding to supply disruptions in electricity, natural gas, and petroleum: and
- Identifies emerging issues within the energy infrastructure including Smart Grid technologies, electric vehicles, and alternative fuels.
In 2019, the NCEAP was revised and updated by the SEO. In addition to being available online, printed copies were distributed to key individuals including NCEM.