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Senate confirms Bruce Walker to head DOE reliability office

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Senate confirms Bruce Walker to head DOE reliability office

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Bruce Walker as Assistant Secretary of Energy for electricity delivery and energy reliability Oct. 5, a day after his nomination cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Walker, a power industry veteran who has worked for National Grid USA and Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc., will take over the DOE's reliability office shortly after the agency asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to craft a sweeping rule that would direct regional grid operators to ensure that power plants physically located within commission-approved organized wholesale power markets and with 90 days of onsite fuel storage can fully recover their costs in those markets. Energy Secretary Rick Perry made the request in response to concerns that a wave of coal and nuclear plant retirements was threatening the electric grid's reliability and resilience.

In addition to that issue, Walker will be involved in the DOE's work to protect the bulk power system from cyberattacks, hurricanes and other major events. President Donald Trump in May asked the DOE to assess the electricity sector's ability to respond to a prolonged power outage stemming from a cyberattack. A report on the DOE's findings was due 90 days after Trump made his request but has yet to be released.