What DOE Didn't Hear: Smart Energy Policies that Save Money and Cut Pollution through Energy Efficiency

April 15, 2002

Media Contact(s):

Wendy Koch, 202-507-4753, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The April 10 AP story ("Cheney Team Sought Environmentalists") said that in his conversation with Howard Geller, Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, DOE staffer Peter Karpoff "noted that Geller will e-mail 'some stuff.'" Among the "stuff" Geller sent was the substance of what became an ACEEE report called Smart Energy Policies: Saving Money and Reducing Pollutant Emissions through Greater Energy Efficiency. It details nine policy initiatives—which were mostly ignored in the National Energy Plan.

In what AP termed the Department of Energy's "cursory, two-day sweep" of input from sustainable energy experts, it overlooked well-documented, practical energy efficiency policies that could have made the President's National Energy Plan more balanced and cost-effective, and less polluting. "The Administration's energy plan is biased toward traditional supply policies," stated ACEEE's Executive Director Steve Nadel. "If DOE had taken the time to fully consider what we recommend in "Smart Energy Policies," we think our nation's energy policy would be more balanced, better for the economy, and better for the environment."

ACEEE's nine recommended policies are summarized below, along with Administration and Congressional response to date and an Administration scorecard. "We would give the Department a 'D+' overall," said Nadel. "While it has taken positive steps in some areas, it has failed totally on several important issues and the jury is still out on others. We'd like to see more substantive action from the Administration on efficiency."

  1. Increase Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards: Raise federal CAFE standards to 44 mpg for cars and 33 mpg for trucks by 2012.
    Scorecard: CAFE not included in NEP; House energy bill (HR4) includes weak alternative; Senate rejected any real improvement in CAFE.
    Overall Administration Grade: Fails
  2. Adopt a National System Benefit Trust Fund: Support state clean energy programs through a two-tenths of a cent fee on electricity sales.
    Scorecard: NEP makes no mention and neither House of Congress has included such a provision in their energy bills.
    Overall Administration Grade: Fails
  3. Advance Appliance Efficiency Standards: Strengthen standards for home appliances and other equipment like heating and air conditioning systems, lighting, and electronic products.
    Scorecard: Mentioned in the NEP but funding was cut in the 2002 budget while rollback of air conditioner standard was sought. House bill has minimal standards provisions; Senate bill goes further on standards.
    Overall Administration Grade: C
  4. Raise Tax Incentives for Efficient Buildings, Vehicles, and Equipment: Increase federal income tax credits, deductions, and other incentives.
    Scorecard: Vehicle incentives mentioned in NEP but no other products. House and Senate bills include broader efficiency incentives.
    Overall Administration Grade: D
  5. Strengthen Federal Efficiency R&D: Increase by 17% per year for three years.
    Scorecard: NEP described past benefits of R&D but Administration sought major cuts in 2002 budget. 2003 request is more balanced but still far short of the need.
    Overall Administration Grade: C
  6. Promote Combined Heat and Power: Increase support for this technology since it reduces the amount of electricity that is lost by conventional systems, which can be up to two-thirds of the electricity generated.
    Scorecard: NEP proposes tax incentives and improved emissions standards but falls short on interconnection issues. Both bills address CHP incentives.
    Overall Administration Grade: B
  7. Initiate Voluntary Agreements with Industry: Support company plans to reduce energy use and emissions via federal policies.
    Scorecard: NEP silent; Administration later proposed voluntary agreements for carbon emission reductions; however, no incentives or consequences for failure were included. Senate bill includes provision.
    Overall Administration Grade: Incomplete
  8. Improve Power Plant Efficiency: Accelerate retirement of older plants via new Clean Air Act strategies.
    Scorecard: NEP silent; later Clear Skies initiative could lead to improved power plant efficiency; important details incomplete.
    Overall Administration Grade: Incomplete
  9. Advanced Building Energy Codes: Increase support for energy codes, an effective way to make sure new buildings pose minimum strain on energy resources.
    Scorecard: Not mentioned in NEP. Administration cut codes support for states more than 50%.
    Overall Administration Grade: Fails

"Smart Energy Policies" is available free of charge at /pubs/e012full.pdf.