DOE Needs To Reestablish a Solar Energy Goal and Develop Plans To Achieve That Goal

EMD-81-100: Published: Jun 25, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1981.

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The former President set a national goal of meeting 20 percent of the Nation's energy needs with solar and renewable resources by the end of this century. GAO recently completed a survey which followed up on actions taken by the Department of Energy (DOE) in response to past GAO recommendations that DOE develop and establish a plan for solar energy, furnish the plan to the congressional oversight and budget committees to assist them in their deliberations on solar energy policy and budget matters, and periodically review the plan's effectiveness.

GAO found that DOE had taken steps toward developing a plan for achieving the 20-percent goal but, with the change in administration and the administration's recent proposed cuts in the Federal solar budget, the viability of the goal is uncertain and planning efforts are at a standstill. Anticipated Federal solar energy efforts from 1981 through 1986 are projected to amount to nearly $8.6 billion, including nearly $7 billion in tax credits. The substantial Federal support makes it essential that a solar goal be reestablished. DOE needs to develop a long-range plan for achieving that goal, including interim goals which would provide a yardstick for measuring the success of Federal efforts to develop and promote the use of solar energy. The goal and plan are needed to guide Federal efforts toward ensuring that solar technologies are developed in time to meet the Nation's energy needs. The Administration's proposed approach would reduce Federal support for solar energy in terms of Federal budget authority but would continue to increase overall Federal support when tax credits are considered. However, DOE no longer believes that a solar goal is appropriate and has no plans to reestablish such a goal.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should give high priority to reaffirming the 20-percent goal or establishing a new goal to provide needed focus and direction to the various Federal efforts aimed at promoting the development and use of solar energy and a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of such efforts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should furnish this plan to congressional oversight and budget committees as soon as possible so that it can be of assistance to these committees in their deliberations on solar energy policy and budget matters.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should periodically review this plan to determine its effectiveness and to identify areas needing modification.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should develop a long-range plan for achieving the solar energy goal. The plan should establish interim goals, contain specific actions needed to attain the goals, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the other Federal agencies in the solar energy effort.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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