Energy Assurance Concept of Operations

Energy Emergency Preparedness
Photo: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Photo: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Hawaii’s energy infrastructure and delivery systems are vulnerable to a variety of hazards, including severe natural disasters such as tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, and tsunamis; infrastructure failures; pandemics; deliberate physical and cyber attacks; and other high impact/low frequency events.

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) is responsible for coordinating the protection of critical energy assets and assisting federal, state, and county governments with disruption preparation, response, and mitigation in support of the governor. DBEDT, through HSEO, is the lead agency responsible for executing the Emergency Support Function #12 Energy (ESF-#12) mission. This mission is in alignment with relevant National Planning Frameworks and the State of Hawaii Plan for Emergency Preparedness. In this capacity, state ESF-#12 facilitates the assessment, reporting, and restoration of damaged energy systems and components when activated by the State Civil Defense for incidents requiring a coordinated state response.

Response and Restoration

Despite statewide efforts to promote reliability and resiliency in the energy sector, local, statewide, national, and global events will occur that will disrupt the sector. When this happens DBEDT must be prepared to respond appropriately and effectively. In the face of both manmade and natural disasters, DBEDT utilizes emergency management and technical expertise to help overcome challenges inherent in quickly restoring an incredibly complex energy system. DBEDT plans, trains, and coordinates year round with all relevant stakeholders to coordinate and facilitate system restoration activities with county, state, federal, and public and private sector stakeholders. In some cases, DBEDT will need to coordinate certain legal authorities and waivers on behalf of the governor or the energy sector. DBEDT coordinates situational awareness of affected energy infrastructure and systems with the State Civil Defense, state government, the counties, and industry stakeholders during a disruptive event.

Monitoring, Reporting, and Analysis

Engaging with energy and interdependent lifeline partners, DBEDT seeks to identify and address vulnerabilities in the state’s energy systems and supply chains that have the potential to negatively impact the energy sector. DBEDT collects data, analyzes information, and conducts projects related to Hawaii energy infrastructure assets and systems to include supply impacts and consequences of loss. The department also strives to enhance the situational awareness of the state’s energy infrastructure by developing the technical capabilities required to monitor and respond to potential disturbances in real-time.

Coordination and Outreach

DBEDT has established relationships with private and public industry owners and operators of the state’s energy infrastructure, as well as state and county agencies. This puts the department in a unique position to understand perspective on prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery options to quickly deploy available resources in a phased, systematic approach. DBEDT’s partnerships with the private sector have enabled it to better respond to the needs of organizations that comprise of Hawaii’s energy ecosystem. DBEDT’s local, national, and international capabilities have been greatly enhanced by these relationships developed over years of collaborating with companies from all parts of the sector.

Energy Assurance Planning

DBEDT works closely with government agencies and private sector companies on energy assurance and critical energy infrastructure protection planning issues. The department develops tools to inform and educate officials to support energy emergency response activities. This is done through various forums, training events, planning initiatives, and disaster exercises for energy, emergency management, and homeland security officials to exchange and share information. DBEDT regularly partners with local and national organizations to further assist in these efforts including the County Civil Defense Agencies, energy trade and security organizations, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Association of State Energy Officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, electric and gas utilities, petroleum companies, and other energy companies and “lifeline” organizations.