Statement of Task
The NRC Committee on Benefits of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Programs issued its report in the Fall 2001. That committee developed a methodology and benefits matrix for a retrospective evaluation of DOE’s programs in energy efficiency and fossil energy. The committee appointed to conduct the current proposed study will adapt the results of the previous committee with an aim to develop a methodology and matrix for evaluating prospective benefits of DOE’s energy efficiency and fossil energy programs. In addition, the committee will apply its newly developed methodology to evaluate energy efficiency and fossil energy programs. To this end, the committee will
Review the methodology(ies) that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE&RE) and the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) are developing to evaluate the prospective benefits of their R&D programs;
Consider other methodologies that are being used and/or developed by other groups and analysts for evaluation of R&D benefits, e.g., by OMB, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), etc.;
Develop a methodology to evaluate prospective benefits, taking into account the results of the previous NRC report, Energy Research at DOE, Was It Worth It?, as well as what EE&RE, FE, OMB, and others, are developing and incorporating in their efforts. Included will be a delineation of a clear and consistent set of assumptions, guidelines and rules. Every effort will be made to make this methodology as transparent as possible, so that future estimates will be relatively easy for the non-expert observer to understand.
Evaluate a number of specific projects in both Fossil Energy and Energy Efficiency using the newly developed methodology. It is too early to predict how many projects will be considered, but it is estimated that the committee will at a minimum choose 5 in Fossil Energy, where projects tend to be large, and 10 in Energy Efficiency, where projects tend to be smaller.
It is the intent of the Congress that the NRC will conduct a number of evaluations of prospective benefits on an annual basis with different programs evaluated each year. However, since a methodology/framework has yet to be developed, it is anticipated that the committee’s first report will be issued 14 months from the time the National Academies receives funds for the study.