Cantwell and Energy Secretary Moniz Unveil New Report that Examines and Recommends Improvements to the U.S. Grid

Energy Department Releases Latest Quadrennial Energy Review, With Focus on Electric Grid Modernization and Security

January 6, 2017

Cantwell: Congress Should Hurry and Implement Elements of the Quadrennial Energy Review

Download the new QER here.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) joined Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to unveil the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) that examines and makes improvements to the nation’s electricity grid.

“It’s so important that the Department of Energy took the lead in doing the QER and summating what are the energy needs of our nation and a plan for us to implement policy,” Sen. Cantwell said. “Congress should hurry and implement elements of the Quadrennial Energy Review."

The Quadrennial Energy Review 1.2 is a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. electricity grid from generation to end use. The report highlights the nation’s electricity grid challenges, as well as opportunities to protect and strengthen it.

As Americans become increasingly dependent on electricity, it is necessary to have a grid that can withstand the technology demands of the 21st century. “The fact is that the electricity grid and the transmission system are key parts of our economy, and they are changing very rapidly with the elements of various new forms of distributed generation and the new internet of things," Sen. Cantwell said.

Upgrading the grid will ensure consumers have affordable, reliable and clean sources of electricity. The QER makes recommendations for ways to improve how electricity is generated, stored and distributed to consumers. The report also encourages increasing federal support for state efforts to quantitatively value and incorporate energy efficiency, demand response, distributed storage and distributed generation into resource planning.

Modernizing the electricity grid is also vital to protecting America’s national security, and the report identifies ways to protect against and respond to physical and cyber attacks on the grid. Specifically, the QER recommends amending Federal Power Act authorities, including new authorities under the FAST Act, to clarify and affirm that the electricity system—from bulk power to the distribution—is a national security asset, making its protection a fundamental federal responsibility. The report also recommends collecting information on a confidential basis to inform the president about emergency actions and imminent threats to the electric grid to meet statutory responsibilities under the FAST Act.

In 2014, President Obama directed the Administration to conduct the Quadrennial Energy Review as a policy roadmap to provide analysis on U.S. energy needs. The first installment of the QER was released in April 2015, which focused on energy transmission, storage and distribution of America’s energy systems.