U.S. DOE Hosts Briefing on QER and Summary of Key Recommendations

On April 24, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducted a briefing on the recently released first installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) which focuses on the transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure that links energy supplies to intermediate and end-users.

Last year, NASEO provided input to DOE on the QER through NASEO meetings and a formal submission.  Below are some of the recommendations, which are of particular interest to State and Territory Energy Offices under the various sections of the QER (corresponding pages within the full QER are listed in parentheses at the end of each recommendation). NASEO suggests states review the full report for further details on these and other recommendations.

  • Develop comprehensive data, metrics, and an analytical framework for energy infrastructure resilience, reliability, safety, and asset security. DOE, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and interested infrastructure stakeholders, should develop common analytical frameworks, tools, metrics, and data to assess the resilience, reliability, safety, and security of energy infrastructures. (Pages 2-38)
  • Establish a competitive program to accelerate pipeline replacement and enhance maintenance programs for natural gas distribution systems. DOE should establish a program to provide financial assistance to states to incentivize cost-effective improvements in the safety and environmental performance of natural gas distribution systems through targeted funding to offset incremental costs to low-income households and funding for enhanced directed inspection and maintenance programs. (Pages 2-38)
  • Support the updating and expansion of state energy assurance plans. DOE should undertake a multi-year program of support for state energy assurance plans, focusing on improving the capacity of states and localities to identify potential energy disruptions, quantify their impacts, share information, and develop and exercise comprehensive plans that respond to those disruptions and reduce the threat of future disruptions. (Pages 2-39)
  • Establish a competitive grant program to promote innovative solutions to enhance energy infrastructure resilience, reliability, and security. DOE should establish a program to provide competitively awarded grants to states to demonstrate innovative approaches to TS&D infrastructure hardening and enhancing resilience and reliability. A major focus of the program would be the demonstration of new approaches to enhance regional grid resilience, implemented through the states by public and publicly regulated entities on a cost-shared basis. (Pages 2-40)
  • Analyze the Need for additional or expanded regional product reserves. DOE should undertake updated cost-benefit analyses for all of the regions of the United States that have been identified as vulnerable to fuel supply disruptions to inform subsequent decisions on the possible need for additional regional product reserves. (Pages 2-41)
  • Integrate the authorities of the President to release products from regional petroleum product reserves into a single, unified authority. Congress should amend the trigger for the release of fuel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve and from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve so that they are aligned and properly suited to the purpose of a product reserve, as opposed to a crude oil reserve. (Pagse 2-41)
  • States are the test beds for the evolution of the grid of the future. Innovative policies at the state level that reflect differences in resource mix and priorities can inform Federal approaches. (Pages 3-19)
  • Provide state financial assistance to promote and integrate TS&D infrastructure investment plans for electricity reliability, affordability, efficiency, lower carbon generation, and environmental protection. In making awards under this program, DOE should require cooperation within the planning process of energy offices, public utility commissions, and environmental regulators within each state; with their counterparts in other states; and with infrastructure owners and operators and other entities responsible for maintaining the reliability of the bulk power system. (Pages 3-26)
  • Establish uniform methods for monitoring and verifying energy efficiency. Through its Uniform Methods Project, DOE should accelerate the development of uniform methods for measuring energy savings and promote widespread adoption of these methods in public and private efficiency programs. (Pages 3-28)
  • Support fuels diversity through research, demonstration, and analysis. DOE and the Department of Defense should continue research and demonstration activities to develop biofuels that are compatible with existing petroleum fuel infrastructure, especially in aviation and for large vehicles. DOE should provide technical support to states, communities, or private entities wishing to invest in infrastructure to dispense higher-level ethanol blends. DOE should ensure adequate support for data collection and analysis on fuels, like propane, that play an important role in the Nation’s diverse energy mix and are challenged by changing TS&D infrastructures. (Page 4-9)
  • Work with states to promote best practices for regulating and siting CO2 pipelines. Building on successful state models for CO2 pipeline siting, DOE, in cooperation with Federal public land agencies, should take a convening role to promote communication, coordination, and sharing of lessons learned and best practices among states that are already involved in siting and regulating CO2 pipelines or that may have CO2 pipeline projects proposed within their borders in the future. (Pages 7-26)
  • Prioritize meaningful public engagement through consultation with Indian Tribes, coordination with state and local governments, and facilitation of non-Federal partnerships. Early and meaningful public engagement with affected residential communities, nonprofit organizations, and other non-Federal stakeholders through the NEPA process and other forums can reduce siting conflicts. Federal agency coordination with state and local governments and government-to-government consultation with affected Indian Tribes should remain a Federal Government priority. When possible, Federal agencies should co-locate energy infrastructure environmental review and permitting staff from multiple Federal agencies’ regional and field offices. (Pages 9-17)

Please click here to view the video.