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Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase Two)
expected net economic, environmental, and security benefits of the program once goals are met. In addition, the primary assumptions associated with DOE’s benefits analyses should be provided. The net benefits analysis requires that benefits are reported as being over and above those of the next-best alternative to the R&D technology or program under review. Information provided by DOE should comply with the following requirements:
Data should be consistent with DOE’s reporting under the Program Assessment Review Tool (PART) and/or the Government Performance Review Act (GPRA) and be the most current available.
Data should be reported consistently across individual projects in the program to support project data aggregation at the program level.
Net economic benefits data should be reported in nominal as well as real dollars using the same discount rate across projects and programs and should reasonably account for known life-cycle benefits and costs.
Net environmental and security benefits should be quantified to the extent possible and qualified as necessary.
NEMS and MARKAL modeling results and key assumptions should be consistently reported over a like time period for benefits calculations and simply reported numerically and graphically for ease of understanding. DOE should also explain the specific commercialization process and assumptions used in the benefits calculations.
Technology goals must be clearly stated, and the extent of market adoption of the technology once relevant goals are met and the technology is commercially available must be reported along with the underlying assumptions reflected in the arithmetic market adoption function.
Information should be provided on external (to DOE) RD&D funding and activities by governments, institutions, and industry to develop and deploy the technologies being evaluated.
The information request and supporting documentation take the form of a brief program assessment summary (PAS), discussed in Appendix G. Individual assessment summaries are prepared for each program under review and each project in the program if projects are also going to be subject to the panel review.
DURATION AND FREQUENCY OF THE EXPERT PANELREVIEWS
Expert panel assessments of the benefits of each major DOE program occur at least once every 3 years. Programs in which significant changes have taken place are assessed by the expert panels soon after the changes. Between expert panel reviews, DOE comments on and updates the program status annually. Individual expert panels, once convened, aim to finish their work within 3 months of the first meeting, because the reviews and recommendations should tie into and be relevant to the administration and congressional budget processes.
ASSESSMENT OF ACTIVITIES BY NON-DOE ENTITIES
DOE’s expenditure of public funds should be employed to “make the difference” in areas where other public entities, other national governments, and the private sector are not succeeding at spurring innovation and advancing critical technology. Therefore, an assessment of DOE’s R&D investment needs to also examine the effectiveness and potential for success of the non-DOE programs.
To establish the character of the non-DOE R&D activities the review panel must, the goals, objectives, funding, and milestones of those activities that are relevant to the particular DOE R&D program that is being assessed. Details such as technical and marketing risks of the research sponsored by entities other than DOE must be ascertained.
DOE staff should have some, and in some cases considerable, information on RD&D activities taking place at the state level, or being carried out by foreign governments or by industry. This information is shared with the panels early in the review. In addition, the panel selection process will ensure the selection of knowledgeable professionals involved in other related R&D activities. This should add considerable value to the assessment. There may, however, be occasions where NRC and DOE conflict-of-interest requirements make it impossible to have external experts on the panel who are involved in all of these related activities. On these occasions the panel chair, in consultation with DOE managers and NRC staff, selects external experts to brief the panel during the first 2 days of its deliberation so that members better understand the status of related non-DOE R&D activities.
As it assesses a program and reviews DOE activities, a review panel needs to take into account several issues (if the members need additional expertise or information, they may ask for it):
Identify projects whose success is absolutely critical for program success and determine whether they are receiving sufficient attention and resources from DOE.
Identify other projects and programs that are enabling for or complementary to the program under review. If attainment of the program goal is dependent on parallel DOE programs, the panel requires sufficient information to assess this interdependence.
Determine if DOE has a termination strategy in the event that a project is not successful and determine the likely effect of that termination on the program under review.