Press Release

RFF Begins Multi-Year Initiative to Assess US Energy Policy Options

Oct 14, 2008


FOR RELEASE: October 15, 2008
CONTACT: Stan Wellborn, RFF Director of Public Affairs, 202-328-5026

WASHINGTON – Building on a 50-year legacy in energy research, Resources for the Future is undertaking a multi-faceted initiative to assess future U.S. energy policy options.

The three-year project, Towards a New National Energy Policy: Assessing the Options, will be carried out in collaboration with a new organization, the Tulsa-based National Energy Policy Institute (NEPI). The George Kaiser Family Foundation has granted funds to NEPI to underwrite the project.

“America’s dependence on imported oil and other fossil fuels is a serious threat to our national security and a significant contributor to global climate change,” said entrepreneur and philanthropist George Kaiser in describing his vision of the new work. “The time is ripe for an analysis of energy policy options ranked simply by the cost of reducing barrels of imported oil and tons of greenhouse gas emitted. This will give our decision makers the tools to lead us toward real energy security.”

In announcing the project, RFF President Phil Sharp noted, “Over the next decade, the nation’s policy planners must have reliable methods to judge the feasibility of a wide variety of energy policy options. RFF’s distinguished history in providing nonpartisan analysis in energy and climate policy equips us well to take on this essential work.”

The research, to be formally launched in the fall of 2008, will be managed by a team of project leaders, including RFF Senior Fellows Alan Krupnick, Margaret Walls, and Ian Parry, as well as Tony Knowles, former governor of Alaska and now president of NEPI. Contributors to the project will be drawn from the RFF staff and outside experts, and the work will culminate with publication of a book in 2011. Interim products will include white papers and the results of individual expert research projects in particular areas of energy policy.

Knowles says RFF was chosen for the project because of its longstanding contributions to energy policy formulation and its demonstrated ability to inject its research findings into the policy process. “For many years, there has been a need to define consistent metrics in the energy debate to ensure clarity, focus, and understanding. RFF has shown that it has the analytical capability and policy know-how needed to deliver reliable results.”

Policy areas to be studied during the first phase of the project include:

  • Broad transportation policies, such as fuel economy standards and carbon content standards.
  • Policies to encourage the deployment of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles, as well as the use of compressed natural gas.
  • Energy efficiency policies, such as building codes and appliance standards.
  • Policies regarding electricity generation from renewable sources, such as a renewable portfolio standard.
  • Policies to promote and expand the current array of nuclear power plants.
  • Broad strategies targeted at carbon dioxide, such as a carbon tax and a cap-and- trade program.
  • Policies for basic and applied R&D in clean energy technologies.

Work will also begin on strategies for domestic hydrocarbon options including access to federal onshore and offshore lands, building natural gas pipelines, unconventional fossil fuel resources, and biofuels.

"In addition to signing up experts, we are creating a series of background papers, such as on energy security and a review of models, including our choice of the EIA’s National Energy Modeling System, to serve as the analytical basis for the project," says Krupnick. "In the second phase of this project, we will complete our comprehensive policy analyses, including the identification of promising combinations of policies."


Founded in 1952, Resources for the Future is an independent and nonpartisan institution.