Proposed regulations by the Trump administration to reduce threats from foreign countries to the nation’s power grid are increasingly worrying energy industry owners and operators, The Hill reported on Sunday.
The rules proposed in an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in March could significantly restrict the possibility for grid equipment to be manufactured in nations deemed threats, such as China.
“The recognition that certain assets in the system are used on the grid should not be supplied by a certain adversarial country, that concept makes a lot of sense,” Tobias Whitney, vice president of Energy Security Solutions at Fortress Information Security, told The Hill.
“But... there is a tremendous amount of influence on how our global multinational companies are structured. What does it mean if a company is based in Europe, but they have manufacturing in China?”
The secretary of energy was asked to create a list of “pre-qualified” vendors that American companies can do business with, as well as specify which equipment in the power system poses a security risk and should be replaced.
The Department of Energy asked for feedback, giving those concerned until August 24 to submit comments.
Many organizations expressed strong concerns over what the order would mean for supply chains.
In just one example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the undefined scope of the executive order “could halt or delay the nationwide installation, operations, and maintenance of a wide variety of critical bulk power system equipment during a time of multifaceted challenges.”
The Department of Energy and other federal officials told The Hill they are aware of the concerns, and that feedback is integral to the process.
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