EREN Network News
May 18, 2001
Special Edition on National Energy Policy
About this Newsletter
INTRODUCTION: NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY
This special edition of the EREN Network News takes an
in-depth look at the National Energy Policy, a report
prepared by the President's National Energy Policy
Development Group (NEPDG) and released yesterday by
the White House. The report presents NEPDG's
recommendations for the President, many of which would be
carried out by the executive agencies. In many cases, of
course, Congressional action will be needed to carry out the
The cornerstones of the policy are two Executive Orders:
one that would direct all federal agencies to review the
energy impact of any regulatory actions and another to
expedite federal permitting for energy-related projects.
Another recommendation of interest proposes new
regulations on mercury emissions from power plants.
Although there are a great deal of recommendations
regarding coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power
production, this edition of EREN Network News will focus on
those recommendations directly tied to energy efficiency and
renewable energy. See the full report, especially the
"Summaries" section, on the White House Web site.
NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
Reviewing Funding for Renewable, Efficiency Research
The NEPDG recommends that DOE conduct a review of the
current funding and historic performance of the research and
development programs for energy efficiency and renewable
energy. After this review, the NEPDG calls for DOE to
propose appropriate funding for those programs "that are
performance-based and are modeled as public-private
In line with the President's proposed budget for 2002, the
report also recommends legislation to fund renewable
energy research with an estimated $1.2 billion in bid
bonuses from the leasing of the Alaska National Wildlife
To reflect the increasing prominence of distributed energy
resources, the NEPDG recommends integrating the current
programs on hydrogen, fuel cells, and distributed energy. It
also recommends expanded research and development on
transmission reliability and superconductivity. For an
overview of these programs, see Distributed Energy Resources.
Establishing Energy Efficiency as a National Priority
The report calls for DOE to establish a national priority for
improving energy efficiency, to be pursued through the
combined efforts of industry, consumers and all levels of
government. In addition, the report recommends that the
Office of Science and Technology Policy and the President's
Council of Advisors on Science and Technology review and
make recommendations on using the nation's energy
resources more efficiently.
Improving the Energy Efficiency of Appliances and Buildings
The NEPDG recommends that the Energy Star program be
expanded to include schools, retail buildings, health care
facilities, and homes, as well as additional products,
appliances, and services. The report also recommends
setting higher standards for appliances and expanding the
standards to additional appliances. For more information
about the Energy Star program.
In line with the Administration's proposed budget for 2002,
the report also recommends increased funding for home
weatherization programs. For more information, see the
Weatherization Assistance Program Web site on EREN.
Improving the Energy Efficiency of Vehicles
The NEPDG recommends that the U.S. Secretary of
Transportation review and provide recommendations on
establishing new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)
standards, with consideration of a National Academy of
Standards report due in July 2001, and also examine other
market-based approaches to increasing the fuel economy of
new vehicles. The report suggests a tax credit for the
purchase of hybrid electric or fuel-cell-powered vehicles, to
be in effect from 2002 through 2007.
For heavy vehicles, the report says that the Administration
remains committed to programs that are developing fuel-cell-
powered buses and other clean bus technologies. The report
also proposes a new program to reduce truck idling at truck
For more information on these technologies, see Office
of Transportation Technologies.
Developing Clean Fuels
To encourage alternatives to petroleum fuels, the NEPDG
recommends increased international cooperation on the
development of alternative fuels, and proposes extending
the ethanol excise tax exemption. To learn about alternative
fuels, see Alternative Fuels Data Center.
The group also recommends an examination of opportunities
to maintain or improve the environmental benefits of state
and local clean fuel programs while increasing their
Advancing Comprehensive Electric Power Legislation
The report calls for DOE to propose comprehensive
electricity legislation that promotes competition, protects
consumers, enhances reliability, promotes renewable
energy, and improves energy efficiency.
Encouraging New Combined Heat and Power Projects
The NEPDG recommends several actions to encourage the
growth of combined heat and power (CHP), also called
cogeneration. The report asks for a shortened depreciation
life or investment tax credits for CHP projects and asks for
more flexibility in environmental permitting for these projects.
The report also asks the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency to encourage the development of CHP units that are
highly efficient and have low emissions. For more
information on CHP, see the CHP Initiative Web site on
Encouraging New Renewable Energy Installations
Homeowners are likely to be pleased with a recommended
15 percent tax credit for residential solar energy systems,
with a maximum limit of $2,000.
For large-scale electricity producers, the NEPDG
recommends extending the current production tax credit for
electricity produced from wind and biomass, expanding the
types of biomass that are eligible, and allowing a credit for
biomass that is co-fired with coal. The group also
recommends a new tax credit for landfill-methane power
projects, suggests accelerating the processing of geothermal
land leases, and proposes streamlining the hydropower
licensing process. In addition, the NEPDG recommends a
reevaluation of the access to federal lands that might be
useful for the production of power from renewable energy,
and suggests promoting the use of abandoned industrial
sites, called brownfields, for new clean energy production
facilities. DOE has a program that encourages solar energy
development on brownfields, called the Brightfields Program.
Simplifying the Purchase of Renewable Energy
The NEPDG calls for a new "renewable energy partnership
Program" to help companies more easily buy renewable
energy and receive credit for it. The program would also
promote consumer choice programs that increase
consumers' knowledge about the environmental benefits of
purchasing renewable energy. See the Green Power
Network on EREN.
Educating the Public About Energy
The report recommends that DOE develop programs that
educate the public about energy development and use. The
programs are envisioned as long-term programs that are
funded and managed by the respective energy industries.
This would include a campaign that communicates the
benefits of alternative forms of energy, as well as a
strengthening of public education programs relating to
energy efficiency. The report also suggests that the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increase awareness
of the Energy Star program and the sizable savings that
energy efficiency offers to homeowners.
About this Newsletter
You can subscribe to this newsletter using the online form at:
This Web page also allows you to update your email address
or unsubscribe to this newsletter.
The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN)
home page is located at http://www.eren.doe.gov/.
If you have questions or comments about this
newsletter, please contact the editor.