House Science Subcommittee Approves Energy Grid Cyber Bill

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The House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy on Dec. 19 passed the Grid Modernization Research and Development Act of 2019.

Introduced by Reps. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., and Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., on Dec. 13, the bill would expand cybersecurity research initiatives at the Department of Energy (DoE) to increase security of the electric grid. According to a press release, the legislation would extend the Smart Grid Regional Demonstration initiative and authorize new research.

The legislators aim to enhance grid resilience, develop advanced controls and operations, and establish hybrid energy systems. Rep. Herrera Beutler added that the legislation would “improve the reliability of our electric grid in the event of natural disasters and cyberthreats.”

Rep. Lamb touted the proposed legislation’s support for research, the environment, and the economy.

“In order for our country to utilize all the new energy technologies that we are developing and moving to market, we will need serious advancements to our electric grid. This bill seeks to address the research and development required to make those grid advancements,” he said in his opening statement to the subcommittee at a markup session on Dec. 19.

The subcommittee-approved legislation includes an amendment offered by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., to cover grants for research into non-technical barriers to integrating new technology into the electric grid.

The legislation does not appear to have a matching bill in the Senate.

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