Office of Policy

QER Update and New Reports On-Line

February 6, 2015

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We will soon release the first installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER).  The QER is an Administration-wide plan of action focused on modernizing and transforming US energy transmission, storage, and distribution (TS&D) infrastructures to enhance our competitiveness and energy security and enable a clean energy future.

In its role as the Secretariat for the White House-led QER, the Energy Policy and Systems Analysis Office (EPSA) at DOE commissioned a range of studies from the Department’s national labs and other experts to inform the QER’s findings and recommendations.  As we finalize the QER in coming weeks, we will begin releasing these analytical documents. Today, we are posting three sets of documents that illustrate the range of the QER’s analytical approaches, the sources of QER inputs, and the breadth of the topics covered. 

First, we are providing readers with the results of a technical workshop to assist in developing resilience metrics -- critical to understanding and responding to a range of physical and cyber-challenges for our TS&D infrastructures.  EPSA invited technical experts from industry, national laboratories, and NGOs to discuss the need for such metrics and how they vary by natural gas, liquid fuels and electric grid infrastructures.  Issues important to resilience metrics were identified and explored, ranging from power backup contingency plans, to the impacts of loss of internet data and telecommunications, to the growing dependence of shale supply and transmission infrastructures on electricity.  Key outputs from the workshop included identification of:

• The types of energy sector resilience metrics that have been developed and are being commonly used;
• The adequacy of existing metrics; and
• Options for improving resilience metrics across energy sectors.

The agendas, lists of participants, summaries, and other supporting documents for the resilience metrics technical workshop are posted here.

The QER will also address future natural gas transmission requirements.  The second report we are posting today examines the potential infrastructure needs of the U.S. interstate natural gas pipeline transmission system across a range of future natural gas demand scenarios that drive increased electric power sector natural gas use. To perform this analysis, the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned Deloitte MarketPoint to examine scenarios in its North American Integrated Model (NAIM), which simultaneously models the electric power and the natural gas sectors. This study concludes that, under scenarios in which natural gas demand from the electric power sector increases, the incremental increase in interstate natural gas pipeline expansion is modest, relative to historical capacity additions.  Similarly, capital expenditures on new interstate pipelines in the scenarios considered here are projected to be significantly less than the capital expenditures associated with infrastructure expansion over the last 15 years.

Finally, the QER also examines future electric transmission requirements. The report, “Impacts of Demand-Side Resources on Electric Transmission Planning," from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory assesses the relationship between high levels of demand-side resources (including end-use efficiency, demand response, and distributed generation) and investment in new transmission or utilization of existing transmission. The report summarizes the extensive modeling of transmission scenarios done through DOE-funded studies conducted by the nation’s three interconnection-wide utility-based planning organizations.  The Western Interconnection modeling scenarios included one 20-year scenario with high demand-side resources; this modeling projected that demand-side investments resulted in a reduction of $10 billion in transmission capital costs, or 36% below the base case. High demand-side resource scenarios analyzed for the Eastern Interconnection study reduced the need for energy from high-cost generation sources compared to the base case scenario, thus similarly showing lower costs that could be passed on to electricity consumers.

Please keep watching this page for more information as we count down to the QER release.