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A report prepared by the
of the

National Academy of Engineering

Washington, D. C.


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As a result of the October 1973 oil embargo and subsequent large increases in the cost of imported oil, the National Academy of Engineering established a Task Force on Energy to prepare an assessment of realistic steps that might be taken to increase domestic energy supplies and decrease consumption during the next 10 years (defined as before 1985). This is the resulting report by the Task Force

The names and affiliations of the members of the Task Force on Energy are given in Appendix A. The members of the Task Force and I both believe it is important to make it clear that many of the members of the Task Force, as well as some of those assisting with the work, have had long associations with industrial companies involved in energy supply and distribution. A number have also had significant government responsibilities in the past, but no present government employees were involved in the activities of the Task Force.

The Task Force sought to assess the practical engineering feasibility and probable output of major production programs in specific energy areas. It also studied improvements in efficiency and methods of reducing demand that, if initiated now--that is, in 1974--and carried out successfully, could lead to significantly reduced requirements for energy imports before the end of 1985. The Task Force reviewed each of the potential programs to identify the major actions that would be needed by government and industry to initiate and implement them, if desired, and also assessed their physical, technical, cost (money, resources, and environment), and schedule aspects.

Because of the short time available for this study and the large and growing number of analytical studies by others, the Task Force did not carry out new research, but, instead, sought to apply its judgment and experience to arrive at the results contained in this report, which must be considered in this light.

Based on the information available and on its own judgment, the Task Force undertook to do four things. First, it sought to assess the magnitude of potential domestic energy supplies and demands between now and 1985, Then it sought to determine what might realistically be done to increase supply and reduce demand in each of the energy areas considered in terms of the requirements for government and industry actions, the costs in dollars, manpower, water, and materials, and the effect on the environment, Then the Task Force sought to estimate the collective results, costs, and resource requirements of the programs from an overall point of view. Lastly, the Task Force sought to suggest key factors involved in implementation of some or all of the programs studied.

The Task Force has not attempted to pass judgment on the overall desirability of the various programs, including their social and economic consequences. Nor has the Task Force attempted to pass judgment on whether domestic energy self-sufficiency is a wise policy or when it might actually be accomplished, if decided to be in the national interest. The programs considered by the Task Force, if all done concurrently and if fully successful, would substantially reduce the need for imports by the mid-1980's; but the costs would be high and there are many contingencies to be considered.

The Task Force sought to determine what might realistically be done in each of the energy areas with the present government industrial framework under conditions of considerable incentive and urgency but without direct government direction and intervention characteristic of a wartime" effort.

Obviously, this study is only a beginning, and much more needs to be done to examine many of the questions and problems involved in greater depth. However, it is hoped that this report will provide guidance for such additional work as well as serving as a basis for broad policy considerations and decisions.

The work on this report received encouragement and cooperation from many quarters. In particular, the support of Mr. William E. Simon, then Director, Federal Energy Office, was a key factor in the decision to proceed.

I would like to thank those Academy members and others who gave so generously of their time and energies in the preparation and review of this report In particular, both the Task Force and I would like to express special appreciation for the contributions made by Mr. Eric H. Reichl of the Consolidation Coal Company and Mr. John E. Robb of Bechtel Incorporated. It has been the unselfish contributions of all concerned that provide

the National Academy of Engineering with the breadth and depth to make responsible comments on considerations of such national importance.

Robert C. Seamans, Jr.
National Academy of Engineering

May 16, 1974

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