On May 1, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13920, “Securing the United States Bulk-Power System,” (BPS EO) prohibiting the acquisition, importation, transfer, or installation of certain “bulk-power system electric equipment” where the transaction involves property in which a foreign country or national has any interest and the Secretary of Energy determines that the transaction poses risks to the U.S. bulk-power system, critical infrastructure, or national security.
The Executive Order:
- Prohibits any acquisition, importation, transfer, or installation of bulk-power system electric equipment which has a nexus with any foreign adversary and poses an undue risk to national security, the economy, or the safety and security of Americans.
- Authorizes the Secretary to establish criteria for recognizing particular equipment and vendors as “pre-qualified.”
- Calls for identifying any now-prohibited BPS equipment already in use, allowing the government to develop strategies and to work with asset owners to identify, isolate, monitor, and replace this equipment as appropriate.
- Establishes a Task Force on Federal Energy Infrastructure Procurement Policies Related to National Security, which will focus on the coordination of Federal Government procurement of energy infrastructure and the sharing of risk information and risk management practices.
The Order is effective immediately, but its precise scope and operation will be determined by implementing regulations that have not yet been issued.
The DOE (May 2020) also published a document clarifying that the BPS EO includes transmission lines rated at 69,000 volts (69 kV) or more but does not include facilities used in the local distribution of electric energy. The BPS EO will mitigate major threats strictly affecting the BPS, such as substations, control rooms, or power generating stations, including reactors, capacitors, substation transformers, current coupling capacitors, large generators, backup generators, substation voltage regulators, shunt capacitor equipment, automatic circuit reclosers, instrument transformers, coupling capacity voltage transformers, protective relaying, metering equipment, high-voltage circuit breakers, generation turbines, industrial control systems, distributed control systems, and safety instrumented systems.