Full Disclosure of National Energy Strategy Analyses Needed to Enhance Strategy's Credibility

T-RCED-91-76: Published: Jul 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 8, 1991.

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GAO discussed the development of the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Strategy (NES), focusing on the: (1) analytical support the policy proposals set forth; and (2) factors that will influence its potential success. GAO noted that: (1) in the latter stages of the NES development process, there was less public participation than DOE originally intended; (2) energy and environmental benefits from implementing NES are unclear and may be overstated, since the administration included the estimated impacts of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 in projecting the overall impacts of NES; (3) the supporting analyses did not compare the NES package of proposals with alternative proposals or variations; (4) DOE had not published rigorous cost-benefit analyses supporting two somewhat controversial measures of government intervention not to be included; and (5) the rate of growth in gross national product (GNP) used in the NES analysis was significantly higher than other GNP projections. GAO believes that the: (1) NES proposals to improve energy efficiency may not be as successful as projected if current low oil prices continue; and (2) administration and DOE set very high expectations for the NES process which might have been too difficult to meet even under ideal circumstances.

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