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The Energy Bill of 2005 and the Recommendations of the National Commission on Energy Policy:. How much of the latter got into the former? John P. Holdren

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The Energy Bill of 2005 and the Recommendations of the National Commission on Energy Policy:

How much of the latter got into the former?

John P. Holdren

Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, Harvard Director, The Woods Hole Research Center Co-Chair, National Commission on Energy Policy

Presentation at the Kennedy School

27 October 2005

the national commission on energy policy
The National Commission on Energy Policy
  • Launched in 2002, the Commission…
    • was thoroughly bipartisan & multi-sectoral,
    • met a dozen times,
    • sponsored and digested some 35 background and research papers on key issues,
    • issued interim reports on natural gas and electricity-sector restructuring,
    • released its final report December 8, 2004.
  • Cost was $10 million, principally from
    • the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
    • with minority participation from MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Packard Foundation, Energy Foundation.
members of the commission
John P. Holdren, Co-Chair, Heinz Professor of Env’t Policy, Harvard

William Reilly, Co-Chair, former Administrator, EPA

John W. Rowe, Co-Chair, CEO, Exelon Corp.

Philip R. Sharp, Congressional Chair, former member of Congress, IN

Marilyn Brown, Director, Energy Efficiency & Renewables, ORNL

Ralph Cavanagh, Co-Director, Energy Programs, NRDC

Archie Dunham, CEO, Conoco-Phillips (1999-2004)

Rodney Ellis, State Senator, Texas

Leo W. Gerard, President, United Steel Workers of America

Henry Habicht, former Deputy Administrator, USEPA

Mario Molina, Institute Professor & Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, MIT

Sharon Nelson, Chief, Consumer Protection, Washington; Chair of the Board, Consumers Union

Linda Stuntz, former Deputy Secretary of Energy

Susan Tierney, former Assistant Secretary of Energy, EERE

R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence

Martin B. Zimmerman, VP for Corporate Affairs, Ford (2001-4)

Members of the commission
the commission s overarching objective
The Commission’s overarching objective

Develop recommendations that can…

  • Ensure ample, clean, reliable, and affordable energy for the United States in the 21st century while responding to growing concerns about the nation’s energy security and the risks of global climate change.
  • Command the bipartisan support necessary to be break the stalemate and be enacted.
the commission s principles for policy
The Commission’s principles for policy
  • Prefer markets and market-based solutions
  • Prefer gradual adjustments to dramatic interventions
  • Appreciate the law of unintended consequences
  • Aim for…
    • Economic efficiency
    • High cost-effectiveness
    • Low consumer impacts
    • Appropriate incentives for future action
    • Flexibility for adjustment with experience & new information
    • Equity
    • Political viability
    • Ease of implementation, monitoring, & measurement
  • Achieve revenue neutrality in recommended measures.
recommendations were in five categories
Recommendations were in five categories
  • Expanding oil & gas supply and strategic petroleum reserves
  • Strengthening & protecting energy-supply infrastructure
  • Accelerating energy-technology innovation
  • Dampening growth of demand for liquid fuels
  • Limiting & reducing greenhouse-gas emissions

Listed here not in the order of presentation in the NCEP report, but from highest to lowest degree of “success” in getting into the energy legislation that was signed into law in August 2005.

key recommendations expanding oil gas supply and strategic petroleum reserves
Key recommendations: expanding oil & gas supply and strategic petroleum reserves
  • Encourage nations with underdeveloped oil reserves to foreign investment in their energy sectors.
  • Support R&D on technologies to mitigate environmental impacts of developing unconventional oil resources.
  • Fill Strategic Petroleum Reserve & encourage other nations to establish publicly owned reserves.
  • Adopt effective public incentives for construction of an Alaskan natural gas pipeline (loan guarantees, accelerated depreciation, tax credits, protection for investors against low-price contingencies).
  • Address hurdles to siting & construction of LNG facilities.
  • Increase resources for public land planning & permitting.
  • Increase federal support for R&D on methane hydrates.
key recommendations protecting critical energy infrastructure
Key recommendations: protecting critical energy infrastructure
  • Address vulnerability of electricity grid to attack on the essential, difficult to replace, extra-high-voltage (EHV) transformers scattered throughout the grid.
    • Explore the feasibility of developing a modular, universal EHV transformer that would be smaller, cheaper, more versatile, and more transportable than typical transformers.
  • Improve security against cyber-attack on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that manage the power grid
  • Examine whether surveillance technologies developed for defense and intelligence purposes could be applied to widely distributed energy systems.
    • Examples include drone aircraft, satellite surveillance, intelligent software analysis of surveillance images, change-detection sensors, and intrusion-detection cables.
key recommendations accelerating energy technology innovation
Key recommendations: accelerating energy-technology innovation
  • Revise the tax code to increase private-sector incentives to invest in energy research, development, demonstration, & early deployment.
  • Roughly double annual real federal expenditures for energy research, development, & demonstration (ERD&D) in next 5 years (reaching ~3.3 billion 2004$ per yr in 2010).
    • Within this effort, triple the funding for international cooperation on ERD&D, to $750 million per year.
  • Complement the increased RD&D activity with a tripling of federal expenditures supporting accelerated deployment of the most promising technologies that successfully pass the demonstration phase (reaching ~$2 billion/year in 2010).
key recommendations dampening growth of demand for liquid fuels
Key recommendations: dampening growth of demand for liquid fuels
  • Significantly strengthen federal fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks while also reforming CAFE program.

Range explored was 10-20 mpg increase by 2015; proposed Congress ask NHTSA to recommend figure.

  • Provide manufacturer & consumer incentives to promote domestic production and increased use of highly efficient advanced diesel & hybrid-electric vehicles.
  • Pursue efficiency opportunities in heavy-duty truck fleet and existing passenger vehicle fleet.
key recommendations addressing climate change risks with mandatory greenhouse gas restraints
Key recommendations: addressing climate-change risks with mandatory greenhouse-gas restraints
  • Initiate in 2010 a mandatory, economy-wide, tradable-permits system to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Number of permits based on reducing GHG intensity of the economy (tons of carbon-equivalent emissions per million dollars of real GDP) at 2.4% per year.
    • Cap initial costs to the U.S. economy at $7 per metric ton of CO2-equivalent ($26/tC) via a “safety valve” mechanism; safety valve to increase at 5%/yr in nominal terms.
  • Link subsequent U.S. action with comparable efforts by other developed and developing nations via a program review in 2015 and every five years thereafter.
for more information about the commission s recommendations
For more information about the Commission’s recommendations …
  • Go to, where the Commission’s final report is available in PDF.
  • In addition to final report, staff & outside expert analyses sponsored by Commission are collected in a 2,700 page technical appendix (on the website) and CD-ROM.
  • Economic analysis describing key assumptions and detailed modeling results for the Commission’s greenhouse gas proposal is also available on the website and CD-ROM.
  • An EIA analysis of economic impacts to 2025 of implementing the Commission’s recommendations is on the web at