Obama launches sweeping quadrennial energy review

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014

President Obama yesterday formally kicked off a sweeping report that’s intended to be a road map for the nation’s energy goals for years to come.

Obama signed a¬†memorandum¬†directing agencies to get to work on the Quadrennial Energy Review, a four-year policy plan that’s part of the broader climate change plan he announced in June.

Obama directed an interagency task force to deliver the first report to him by Jan. 31, 2015, and he directed subsequent reports to be prepared for the president every four years thereafter. The first QER will focus on the development of a national strategy surrounding energy infrastructure.

“Our current infrastructure is increasingly challenged by transformations in energy supply, markets, and patterns of end use; issues of aging and capacity; impacts of climate change; and cyber and physical threats,” Obama said in the memorandum. “Any vulnerability in this infrastructure may be exacerbated by the increasing interdependencies of energy systems with water, telecommunications, transportation, and emergency response systems. The first Quadrennial Energy Review Report will serve as a roadmap to help address these challenges.”

The QER will be conducted by an interagency task force co-chaired by the leaders of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy and include representatives from other agencies.

The Energy Department will play a key role in providing analytical support to the QER, and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has made it clear the review will be one of his top priorities during the Obama administration’s second term. He drafted his longtime colleague Melanie Kenderdine to head the department’s lead office tasked with overseeing the effort.

Moniz has said the first governmentwide review of energy policy will feature a heavy focus on the lack of pipelines and related infrastructure to transport oil and natural gas from relatively new shale deposits in the United States (E&ENews PM, Oct. 24, 2013).

The QER is also expected to lay out recommendations for legislation, administrative action, and research and development priorities, and identify data that’s still needed.