The executive office
of the US President
will play a leading
role in future
energy policy
Washington DC, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 10 December 2010 – The United States should prepare a federal energy policy and update it regularly, according to a report released by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

PCAST says accelerating the pace of change in energy technologies through an integrated federal energy policy provides a roadmap for the federal role in transforming the American energy system within one to two decades. In the report, it calls for regular strategic quadrennial reviews of energy policy similar to the quadrennial reviews produced regularly by the U.S. Department of Defence.

The first one is targeted for early 2015. The group — which includes presidentially appointed experts from academia, non-governmental organisations, and industry — recommends a Department of Energy (DOE) level version of the review by 1June 2011, focused on the DOE’s activities. The federal plan is needed because of economic competitiveness, environmental stewardship, and national security, the authors said.

The new report recommends significantly increasing federal investments in energy-related research and development, urging an increase from the current level of approximately US$5 billion pa to about US$16 billion pa. The report also suggests that the president engage the private sector, consumer representatives, and that Congress explores options to provide new revenue streams that could support the development of more efficient energy technologies.

PCAST concluded that transformation was being slowed both by the large number of federal policies that affect the development, implementation, and use of energy technologies, and by the lack of coordination among the many departments and agencies with responsibilities under those policies.

To facilitate planning, the Executive Office of the President would lead the quadrennial energy reviews, and the DOE would provide a secretariat. A main focus should be on promoting widespread use of new technologies that have proven worthy of scale-up, PCAST said.