Net Energy Analysis:

Little Progress and Many Problems

EMD-77-57: Published: Aug 10, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1977.

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Net energy is generally defined as the amount of energy available for consumption from a resource after subtracting the energy expended to locate, mine, transport, refine, convert, and deliver it to the customer. The Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) has not used net energy analysis in analyzing and considering net yields of new energy technologies as much as intended by the Federal Nonnuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 1974.

The application of net energy analysis to research, development, and demonstration is a relatively new concept and the state-of-the-art and other problems have impeded its development and effective use. ERDA officials have not made much use of net energy analysis for planning or other purposes because, until its problems are resolved, the results will not be reliable.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Matter: The Administrator, ERDA, should: (2) develop a formal, comprehensive management plan, including objectives, milestones, and target dates for the timely resolution of the problems associated with net energy analysis; (2) develop procedures for implementing the plan and decision points for evaluating progress; (3) aggressively implement the plan and annually report to Congress on the status and results of these efforts as part of the annual authorization and appropriation process; and (4) develop plans and procedures to use net energy analysis to the extent practicable in planning and carrying out energy research, development, and demonstration.


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