Alternative Mechanisms To Reduce Oil Imports by 1990

EMD-79-107: Published: Aug 30, 1979. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 1979.

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Comments are presented regarding the options to be considered in the development of a balanced energy program designed to reduce oil imports by 1990. Conservation measures should rank as high in priority as synthetic fuel development. The most serious problem in the national approach to achieving greater levels of energy conservation is the lack of an overall plan which clearly establishes energy conservation goals, specifies actions to be taken to achieve those goals, and identifies standby initiatives which could be implemented. Examples of potential energy savings are suggested for the residential, industrial, transportation, and the federal sector. At the present time, the use of renewable technologies is limited by a number of financial and institutional considerations. Thus far, the states and the federal government have not provided incentives to commercialize solar heating systems. It seems that phased oil price decontrol would result in the best combination of costs and benefits to the nation. A fossil fuel option to be evaluated is the potential for oil import reductions through conversion to coal. A more certain way to ensure synthetic fuels production than through the use of a loan guarantee approach would be to provide price guarantees coupled with purchase guarantees by obtaining the lowest possible price through solicitation of proposals to supply synthetic fuels. Due to the potential for cost overruns, cost-plus contracts should be avoided, and on-budget multiyear funding should be considered.

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