July 4, 1971
President Nixon announces as a national goal a commitment to complete a Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor demonstration plant by 1980. In what he refers to as the first comprehensive energy message to Congress by a United States president, Nixon calls the breeder reactor the best hope for meeting the growing demand for economical clean energy.
August 7, 1972
The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) announces a cooperative agreement with industry to build a Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor on the Clinch River in Tennessee.
President Nixon directs Dixy Lee Ray, chairman of AEC, to review federal and private energy research and development activities and recommend an integrated national program.
June 29, 1973
President Nixon establishes the Energy Policy Office. The office is responsible for formulating and coordinating energy policies at the presidential level.
October 6, 1973
The Yom Kippur War breaks out in the Middle East. October 17, 1973, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries declares an oil embargo, sparking the first "energy crisis."
November 7, 1973
President Nixon launches Project Independence, with the goal of achieving energy self-sufficiency by 1980. Recalling the Manhattan Project, Nixon declares that American science, technology, and industry can free the United States from dependence on foreign oil.
December 4, 1973
The Federal Energy Office replaces the Energy Policy Office. The new office is assigned the task of allocating reduced petroleum supplies to refiners and consumers and of controlling the price of oil and gasoline. William Simon is named Administrator.
May 7, 1974
President Nixon signs the Federal Administration Act of 1974. The Federal Energy Administration replaces the Federal Energy Office.
August 9, 1974
Gerald R. Ford becomes President.
October 11, 1974
President Ford signs the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, abolishing AEC and establishing the Energy Research and Development Administration and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
November 25, 1974
President Ford appoints Frank Zarb as administrator of the Federal Energy Administration.
January 19, 1975
The Energy Research and Development Administration is activated. The new agency is given responsibility for the AEC nuclear weapons program. President Ford appoints Robert C. Seamans, Jr., as Administrator.
March 27, 1975
The first pipe is laid on the Alaska Pipeline, which will move crude oil 800 miles through a 48-inch pipe from the North Slope of Alaska to the ice-free port of Valdez, Alaska. Construction is completed in two years.
December 22, 1975
President Ford signs the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, extending oil price controls into 1979, mandating automobile fuel economy standards, and authorizing the creation of a strategic petroleum reserve.
January 20, 1977
Jimmy Carter is inaugurated President.
February 2, 1977
President Carter signs the Emergency Natural Gas Act of 1977.
February 7, 1977
John F. O'Leary is named Administrator of the Federal Energy Administration.
March 24, 1977
The Energy Research and Development Administration announces the establishment of the Solar Energy Research Institute, a federal facility dedicated to finding and improving ways to harness and use energy from the sun, at Golden, Colorado.
April 18, 1977
President Carter announces National Energy Plan in his first major energy speech. His plan calls for the establishment of an energy department.
August 4, 1977
President Carter signs the Department of Energy Organization Act, effectively abolishing the Federal Energy Administration and Energy Research and Development Administration.
August 5, 1977
James R. Schlesinger is sworn in as first Secretary of Energy.
October 1, 1977
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is activated. Bringing together a score of organizational entities from a dozen departments and agencies, the new department is also given responsibility for the nuclear weapons program.
October 5-6, 1977
Secretary Schlesinger signs nine international energy agreements at a meeting of the International Energy Agency in Paris
October 18, 1977
DOE proposes to accept and take title to spent nuclear reactor fuel from utilities on payment of one-time storage fee. In order to implement the policy, DOE will need both interim and permanent spent fuel storage capability
December 21, 1977
DOE establishes Western Area Power Administration with headquarters in Denver, Colorado
November 9, 1978
President Carter signs the National Energy Act, which includes the National Energy Conservation Policy Act, the Power Plant and Industrial Fuel Use Act, the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act, the Energy Tax Act, and the Natural Gas Policy Act.
January 16, 1979
The Shah flees Iran. Cessation of oil exports results in a worldwide shortage of oil. Oil-consuming nations are using two million barrels of oil a day more than are being produced.
March 28, 1979
A partial meltdown of the core occurs at one of the two reactors at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
April 5, 1979
President Carter, responding to growing energy shortages, announces gradual decontrol of oil prices and proposes windfall profits tax.
June 20, 1979
President Carter announces a program to increase the national use of solar energy, including solar development banks and increased funds for solar energy research and development.
July 10, 1979
President Carter proclaims a national energy supply shortage and establishes temperature restrictions in nonresidential buildings.
July 15, 1979
President Carter declares energy to be the immediate test of ability to unite the Nation and proposes an $88 billion, decade-long effort to enhance the production of synthetic fuels from coal and shale oil reserves.
August 24, 1979
Charles W. Duncan, Jr., is sworn in as second Secretary of Energy.
June 30, 1980
President Carter signs the Energy Security Act, consisting of six major acts: U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation Act, Biomass Energy and Alcohol Fuels Act, Renewable Energy Resources Act, Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Act and Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Bank Act, Geothermal Energy Act, and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Act.