the potential impact of the DOE program. Both the Natural Gas Exploration and Production Program and the Chemical Industrial Technologies Program are in this category, and it is these panels that had difficulty assessing the benefits of the two DOE programs.
Applying the prospective benefits methodology to DOE’s light-duty vehicle hybrid technology R&D program required the panel to specify key items that were not always apparent from the documents and information provided by DOE. In particular, some of the program goals were not described explicitly and completely. For example, setting a cost target of $28/kW for a battery by the year 2010 does not describe the objective adequately for assessment purposes. Does the cost target mean a customer could actually buy a battery at that cost? Does it mean that the technology exists that in principle would allow a commercial firm to make such a product? Does it mean the 500,000th production unit or the first? All these conditions must be specified for the assessment method to succeed, and both reviewers and proponents must state their goals quite explicitly.