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All About NDEE: Energy team takes active role in emergency planning

Energy security and emergency planning are critical. That is why the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) is involved in emergency preparedness in multiple ways.

The first is by participating in energy security planning. The second is by providing manpower for the Emergency Support Function (ESF) 12. These ESF 12 coordinators work with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to prepare for emergencies and to provide support when emergencies happen. In addition to this work, NDEE’s energy team is also participating in the Midwest Regional Collaborative – a group that focuses on developing a regional framework in the event of a petroleum shortage that crosses state lines.

Both energy security and the ESF 12 are about ensuring energy supplies. Energy security is an everyday goal, and ESF 12 coordinators work with NEMA in training sessions, emergency exercises and during incidents to ensure energy continuity.

Energy security involves both responding to energy supply disruptions and, in the longer term, working to enhance the resiliency of energy infrastructure, according to NDEE Statistical Analyst Doris Jansky.

“The goal of energy security planning is to achieve a robust, secure, and reliable energy infrastructure that is also resilient,” Jansky said.

Jansky also serves as the primary ESF 12 coordinator for the energy programs. ESF 12 has a team of seven coordinators. ESFs can be activated by NEMA to coordinate emergency response. There are 15 ESFs in all, which focus on different aspects of critical infrastructure.

Energy Security
Energy security plans, previously referred to as energy assurance plans, are major tools when it comes to energy security. Energy security plans exist to help jurisdictions respond to energy supply disruptions and plan ahead to enhance the resiliency of their energy infrastructure. Nebraska has a state energy security plan, and eight Planning, Exercise, and Training (PET) regions that cover the state have their own local energy security plans.

Jansky said it’s important to have an all-hazards energy security plan in place before an incident occurs. The plan also includes having relationships formed with key organizations. With the response steps and relationships in place, less time is wasted in an emergency situation.

The ESF 12 team collects information on energy prices, fuel supply inventory, stakeholder requests and actions needed by NEMA and takes the lessons they’ve learned to maintain the state’s energy security plan, Jansky said.

ESF 12
Jansky said she and the other ESF 12 coordinators monitor energy prices and fuel supplies regularly and maintain an energy data repository, which ties into the state’s energy security plan as well as the ESF 12 work. If there is an emergency incident, the coordinators are responsible for ensuring fuel supply, helping with tasks assigned to them by NEMA and alerting NEMA to emergency needs from the energy sector.

Midwest Regional Petroleum Shortage Response Collaborative
NDEE has joined other energy and emergency management agencies from Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, Kansas, and Minnesota to form the Midwest Regional Petroleum Shortage Response Collaborative, which held its kickoff meeting March 7, 2023.

The Collaborative works to share resources and strengths to assist each other in the event of regional energy emergencies. The group aims to create a regional framework to guide the development of a region-wide petroleum shortage response plan and leverage peer expertise and enhance coordination among states.

In addition to this regional approach, the Collaborative also helps coordinate updates to states’ energy security plans, which each state individually maintains to account for their unique needs and differences.

The group will meet through September, with a target completion date set for Sept. 30, 2023.