Energy Policies of IEA Countries: United States 2002

International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency's 2002 review of US energy policies and programmes.  It finds that US energy policy has an influence on energy policy throughout the world. The 2001 National Energy Policy is an important development. The US is taking unilateral action as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol. This report urges consideration of legislation on carbon dioxide and 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 effort 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 create certainty for 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, meeting acceptable environmental standards, is necessary or imports must rise. Refineries are operating at full capacity; pressure could be eased by reducing the range of products they are required to produce to meet regional standards. Coal use will remain important and could be environmentally sustainable with advanced clean coal technology. Re-licensing of existing nuclear plants, consistent with safety standards, could ensure 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.

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