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Energy Policies of IEA Countries: United States 2002

Energy Policies of IEA Countries: United States 2002
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The Bush Administration’s long-awaited 2001 National Energy Policy has important implications for the rest of the world. It gives a new impetus to US action across the energy field. Its significance is analysed in detail in this new report by the International Energy Agency.

The US has bowed out of the Kyoto Protocol and plans to pursue its own approach to the climate change issue. This report urges the consideration of legislation on carbon dioxide and the adoption of policies allowing international trading in emissions.

Strengthening fuel economy standards is an encouraging approach to energy use in transport. Different standards for cars and light trucks should be addressed as a priority. Policies to promote new sources of energy supply should be balanced by continuing efforts to enhance efficient use of energy.

Regional Transmission Operators are a sensible means of ensuring access to transmission and the functioning of a competitive wholesale market. The power crisis in California has slowed progress on market reform. Confidence should be restored to reactivate reform and to attract new investment. Harmonised electricity industry standards and regulations could help promote competition and encourage investment.

Barriers to exploration for oil and gas need to be addressed. Drilling in new onshore and offshore areas is necessary. If it is not undertaken, imports must rise. Refineries are operating at full capacity. Pressure on them could be eased by reducing the range of products they are required to produce to meet regional standards. Coal use will remain important in the US and could be made environmentally sustainable with advanced clean coal technology.

Re-licensing of existing nuclear plants, consistent with safety standards, could ensure that nuclear power plays a continuing role, even if new plants remain uneconomic. The decision on the Yucca Mountain repository will be important for the future of nuclear power worldwide.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; May 2002
153 pages; ISBN 9789264191976
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