Energy policy

Energy policy

Energy policy is the manner in which a given entity (often governmental) has decided to address issues of energy development including energy production, distribution and consumption. The attributes of energy policy may include legislation, international treaties, incentives to investment, guidelines for energy conservation, taxation and other public policy techniques.

National energy policy

Measures used to produce an energy policy

A national energy policy comprises a set of measures involving that country's laws, treaties and agency directives. The energy policy of a sovereign nation may include one or more of the following measures:

* statement of national policy regarding energy planning, energy generation, transmission and usage
* legislation on commercial energy activities (trading, transport, storage, etc.)
* legislation affecting energy use, such as efficiency standards, emission standards
* instructions for state owned energy sector assets and organizations
* active participation in, co-ordination of and incentives for mineral fuels exploration (see geological survey) and other energy-related research and development
* fiscal policies related to energy products and services (taxes, exemptions, subsidies ...
* Energy security and international policy measures such as:
** international energy sector treaties and alliances,
** general international trade agreements,
** special relations with energy-rich countries, including military presence and/or domination.

Frequently the dominant issue of energy policy is the risk of supply-demand mismatch (see: energy crisis). Current energy policies also address environmental issues (see: climate change). Some governments state explicit energy policy, but, declared or not, each government practices some type of energy policy.

Factors within an energy policy

There are a number of elements that are naturally contained in a national energy policy, regardless of which of the above measures was used to arrive at the resultant policy. The chief elements intrinsic to an energy policy are:

* What is the extent of energy self-sufficiency for this nation
* Where future energy sources will derive
* How future energy will be consumed (e.g. among sectors)
* What fraction of the population will be acceptable to endure energy poverty
* What are the goals for future energy intensity, ratio of energy consumed to GDP
* What is the reliability standard for distribution reliability
* What environmental externalities are acceptable and are forecast
* What form of "portable energy" is forecast (e.g. sources of fuel for motor vehicles)
* How will energy efficient hardware (e.g. hybrid vehicles, household appliances) be encouraged
* How can the national policy drive province, state and municipal functions
* What specific mechanisms (e.g. taxes, incentives, manufacturing standards) are in place to implement the total policy

tate, province or municipal energy policy

Even within a state it is proper to talk about energy policies in plural. Influential entities, such as municipal or regional governments and energy industries, will each exercise policy. Policy measures available to these entities are lesser in sovereignty, but may be equally important to national measures. In fact, there are certain activities vital to energy policy which realistically cannot be administered at the national level, such as monitoring energy conservation practices in the process of building construction, which is normally controlled by state-regional and municipal building codes (although can appear federal legislation).

United States


European Union

Although the European Union has legislated, set targets, and negotiated internationally in the area of energy policy for many years, and evolved out of the European Coal and Steel Community, the concept of introducing a mandatory common European Union energy policy was only approved at the meeting of the European Council on October 27, 2005 in London. Following this the first policy proposals, "Energy for a Changing World", were published by the European Commission, on January 10, 2007.

United Kingdom

The energy policy of the United Kingdom has achieved success in (a) reducing energy intensity (but still really high), (b) reducing energy poverty and (c) maintaining energy supply reliability to date. The United Kingdom has an ambitious goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for future years, but it is unclear whether the programs in place are sufficient to achieve this objective (the way to be so efficient as France is still hard). Regarding energy self sufficiency, the United Kingdom policy does not address this issue, other than to concede historic energy self sufficiency is currently ceasing to exist (due to the decline of the North Sea oil production). With regard to transport, the United Kingdom has a historically good policy record encouraging public transport into the cities, but with a huge defeat in the case of train transport, and with the high speed train, which has the potential to reduce to near zero the use of the aeroplane into the domestic sector, and with the near Europe); however, the policy does not significantly encourage hybrid vehicle use or ethanol fuel use, which programs represent the most viable near term means to gain control over rising transport fuel consumption. Regarding renewable energy, the United Kingdom has goals for wind and tidal energy, but it has acted inconsistently to stimulate these sectors.Fact|date=July 2008


Russia, one of the world's energy superpowers, is rich in natural energy resources, the world’s leading net energy exporter, and a major supplier to the European Union. The main document defining the energy policy of Russia is the Energy Strategy, which sets out policy for the period up to 2020. Russia has also signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol.



The energy policy of Thailand is characterized by 1) increasing energy consumption efficiency, 2) increasing domestic energy production, 3) increasing the private sector's role in the energy sector, 4) increasing the role of market mechanisms in setting energy prices. These policies have been consistent since the 1990s, despite various changes in governments. The pace and form of industry liberalization and privatization has been highly controversial.


The energy policy of India is characterized by trades between four major drivers:
* Rapidly growing economy, with a need for dependable and reliable supply of electricity, gas, and petroleum products;
* Increasing household incomes, with a need for affordable and adequate supply of electricity, and clean cooking fuels;
* Limited domestic reserves of fossil fuels, and the need to import a vast fraction of the gas, crude oil, and petroleum product requirements, and recently the need to import coal as well; and
* Indoor, urban and regional environmental impacts, necessitating the need for the adoption of cleaner fuels and cleaner technologies.

In recent years, these challenges have led to a major set of continuing reforms, restructuring and a focus on energy conservation.




Australia's energy policy features a combination of coal power stations, and hydro electricity plants. The Australian Government has decided not to build nuclear power, although it is one of the world's largest producers of uranium..

ee also

*Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
*Energy balance
*Energy law
*Energy and Environmental Security Initiative (EESI)
* Green energy


External links

* [ "Geopolitics of EU energy supply", EurActiv, July 2005]
* [ "Our energy future - creating a low carbon economy", UK, February 2003]
* [ Final report on the Green Paper "Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply", EU, June 2004]
* [ "Energy Policies of (Country x)" series] , International Energy Agency
* [ Report of President Bush's National Energy Policy Group, May 2001]
* [ Yahoo News Full Coverage: Energy Policy]
* [ UN-Energy] - Global energy policy co-ordination
* [ Energy & Environmental Security Initiative (EESI)]
* [ Renewable Energy Policy Network (REN21)]
* [ An interesting discussion of CO2 emissions from the Center for Global Studies]


"Communism is the rule of soviets plus the electrification of the whole country." Vladimir Ilich Lenin

"Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern this Nation. This difficult effort will be the “moral equivalent of war,” except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy". President of the United States Jimmy Carter, address to the nation on the energy problem, April 18, 1977.

"What we have now is a global economy that needs oil to grow. What we need are options to achieve that growth while, at the same time lessening, our dependence on fossil fuels and increasing our use of cleaner, more secure sources of energy. In short, we need to diversify. Doing so will not be cheap and will not be easy. But it is, most certainly, necessary. In fact, everything depends on it. So let’s get to it."
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, speech at Harvard Business School Global Leadership Forum, June 22, 2006.

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