Report calls for transforming the U.S. energy system


  • Randy Showstack,

  • Ernie Tretkoff


The United States should develop a coordinated, government-wide, federal energy policy to transform the nation's energy system within 1–2 decades, according to a 29 November report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). A key recommendation is for the president to establish a quadrennial energy review process to provide a road map for short- and long-term energy objectives, to outline legislative proposals, to put forward anticipated executive branch actions, and to identify resource requirements for research and development programs.

Entitled “Report to the president on accelerating the pace of change in energy technologies through an integrated federal energy policy,” the report also calls for the government to invest $16 billion per year for clean energy innovation. The report indicates that this would be an approximate tripling of current Department of Energy investments in energy science and technology. Stating that “the discretionary budget is under severe pressure,” the report recommends that the president engage the private sector and Congress to generate about $10 billion per year of funding through new revenue streams. A small charge on electricity and transportation fuel could be “well within the normal fluctuations in price seen by consumers” and generate billions of dollars for research.