US Quadrennial Energy Review: a framework for grid modernization

President Obama's Quadrennial Energy Review
Grid modernization: President Barack Obama initiated the Quadrennial Energy Review, the first national energy policy report in nearly 14 years

In June 2013, President Barack Obama initiated a quadrennial cycle of energy reviews to provide a multi-year roadmap for US energy policy as part of Mr Obama’s ‘Climate Action Plan’ and in response to a 2011 recommendation by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

A Presidential Memorandum released in early 2014 said the focus of the first instalment was to focus on “infrastructure challenges… to enable the Federal Government to translate policy goals into a set of analytically based, clearly articulated, sequenced and integrated actions, and proposed investments”

The US president also announced the formation of a White House Task Force – co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change from the Domestic Policy Council and comprised of 22 Federal agencies with equities in energy – to develop the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER).

The Task Force is directed to deliver a report to the President that includes the following:

  • Provides an integrated view of, and recommendations for, Federal energy policy in the context of economic, environmental, occupational, security, and health and safety priorities, with attention in the first report given to the challenges facing the Nation’s energy infrastructures.
  • Reviews the adequacy of existing executive and legislative actions and recommends additional executive and legislative actions as appropriate.
  • Assesses and recommends priorities for research, development, and demonstration programs to support key energy innovation goals.
  • Identifies analytical tools and data needed to support further policy development and implementation.

The President further directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide analytical support for the QER and to help manage the interagency process through a secretariat at DOE.

This is consistent with DOE’s missions and statutory responsibilities.

DOE has undertaken periodic reviews and analyses of the energy sector and contributed to the work of the National Energy Policy Development Group led by the Vice President in 2001, but the last national energy policy report was published nearly 14 years ago, and the US energy system has changed very significantly over that period, states the review introduction.