Opening Remarks at the Launch of the OSCE Virtual Training Center on Energy Security

Jim Donegan, Director of EUR RPM, at the Launch of the Virtual Training Center in Bratislava, Slovakia on December 5, 2019. Credit: USOSCE/ Khan

Opening Remarks for OSCE Ministerial Council Launch of the Virtual Competency Training Center on Energy Security

As prepared for delivery by the Director of the Department of State Office of European Security and Political-Military Affairs Jim Donegan
Bratislava, Slovakia
December 5, 2019

Thank you for inviting me here today to help launch the new OSCE Virtual Competency Training Center on Energy Security, an extra-budgetary project that the United States is proud to support as the main donor. I’d also like to thank Chairman-in-Office Lajčák, Secretary General Greminger, and Ambassador Žugić for your contribution today.

Energy security is a top U.S. priority, and we welcome the OSCE’s ongoing efforts in this area. Your presence at this launch today, alongside the negotiations over the past few weeks on an energy security-related Ministerial Council decision, highlight the importance of energy security to this organization and to regional peace.

The threats to this peace are manifold, but a few issues, in particular, have emerged in recent years as the most urgent. First, some countries have increasingly utilized energy as a foreign policy tool to coerce other states. Second, extreme weather events have increased in intensity and frequency and threaten energy infrastructure. Third, new technologies are creating tools to help us navigate the ongoing energy and digital transitions, while also exposing vulnerabilities for malign actors to attack energy networks. We are hopeful that the new virtual training center will help experts across the OSCE region build the resiliency of their energy infrastructure to such threats.

We agree with the OSCE Office of the Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Affairs that electricity grids, in particular, are under threat, and we welcome this training’s emphasis on this. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne Laboratories will support the project with its deep expertise in assessing energy grid vulnerabilities, projecting and mitigating disaster fallout, and building online platforms for simulations and assessments.

Simply put, the innovative project we are launching today will help governments plan for, build resilience to, mitigate the risks of, and respond to attacks and disasters.

I look forward to seeing this new training platform in action and to working together to enhance energy security across the OSCE region.

Thank you.