NRECA Encouraged by DOE’s Infrastructure Recommendations; Concerned About Cybersecurity Proposals

ARLINGTON, Va. – Speaking on behalf of America’s Electric Cooperatives, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson issued the following statement on the Department of Energy (DOE) Quadrennial Energy Review 1.2, the second installment of a comprehensive review of the nation’s energy landscape.

“America’s electric cooperatives appreciate the Department of Energy’s willingness to listen to stakeholders and take a fresh, open-minded and comprehensive look at the nation’s energy landscape.

“Electric cooperatives strongly agree that strengthening cybersecurity is a high priority. Electric cooperatives have made substantial progress advancing their cybersecurity capabilities. While physical and cyber threats are constantly changing, co-ops are united in a coordinated effort across the electric sector to protect the reliability of the electric grid from threats.

“NRECA supports the existing North American Electric Reliability Corp. standards-setting process. In the event of an emergency, DOE has new authority under the FAST Act to direct industry to put in place temporary measures. We are concerned by any recommendations that would alter or circumvent these existing and effective processes.

“We concur wholeheartedly with the view that both electricity and broadband are vital to securing the future of rural communities. We therefore echo the call to strengthen the rural electric grid and extend broadband to the thousands of communities still lacking access to high-speed internet.

“Also, more broadly, cooperatives are encouraged by the Department’s emphasis on leveraging the value of electricity to the economy. Thanks in no small part to DOE-sponsored research, automation, data analytics, energy storage, renewable resource development and efficiency have contributed to making the electric system a lot smarter. It is in the national interest to take advantage of these advances. With smart policies and smart investments, broader electrification of systems throughout the economy – public transportation, for example — could keep costs down, create jobs and help reduce emissions.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.