The National Governors Association (NGA) competitively selected four states – Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho and Maryland – to participate in a focused technical assistance project to enhance their experiences in the GridEx V energy security exercise and support the states’ energy security planning efforts.
GridEx is a biennial exercise conducted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to simulate a cyber and physical attack on the electric grid across North America. Participants include members of the electric sector, other critical infrastructure operators, law enforcement, and state, local and federal officials from across the country. The GridEx V exercise will take place Nov. 13-14, 2019.
Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, NGA will work with the four states to prepare for, participate in, and share lessons learned and promising practices from the exercise via phone consultations, an in-person workshop planned for January 2020.
During the exercise, participants will remotely respond to simulated cyber and physical events to determine how their organizations, including governors and states, might respond in a real-world event. Governors play critical roles during widespread electric grid outages and NGA’s project will help participating states improve their ability to respond and recover from these incidents, enhance emergency communications, build relationships with electricity and other critical infrastructure operators, and identify infrastructure resilience needs.
“As a national leader in cybersecurity and a pioneer in micro-grid development, Maryland is proud to partner with the National Governors Association and other states on the GridEx emergency preparedness exercise,” said Governor Larry Hogan, chair of the National Governors Association. “Our technology-driven infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattack with the electric grid as a prime target, but we are committed to protecting our state against threats to our infrastructure with the best ideas and latest technologies.”
“In order for Idaho to respond to a significant emergency event involving our energy infrastructure, we need to better understand all our stakeholders, their infrastructure and single points of failure, and how we can best mitigate those potential failures in a coordinated effort,” Governor Brad Little said. “Idaho welcomes the opportunity to participate in this exercise and take advantage of assistance from our partners.”
“I ran on the goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy in Colorado by 2040, and we’ve already made significant progress toward achieving this commitment. We must also continue to improve our energy infrastructure and security to ensure grid reliability and resilience,” Governor Jared Polis said. “Our state is excited to join this exercise.”
“We are honored to be selected for the opportunity to participate in this important exercise that will help stakeholders in Hawai‘i and other states enhance their capabilities to respond to severe events affecting the reliability of their energy systems,” said Governor David Ige. “Improving grid resiliency in the face of potential cyber and physical threats is a top priority for Hawai‘i as we strive to strengthen our national security and achieve our aggressive clean energy goals.”
After the exercise, the four selected states will contribute to an after-action report to identify state-focused challenges and lessons learned. The state teams also will participate in a two-day, post-exercise workshop with experts, in which they will explore these results and lessons further and develop action plans to improve energy security in their states.