This is least important. It's a memo I sent to the principal NREL-Washington
official in charge of the NREL Luncheon seminars.
Energy Market & Policy Analysis, Inc.
P.O. Box 3875
Reston, Virginia 20195-1875
(703) 709-2213; Fax 709-2214
December 12, 2002
MEMORANDUM FOR: Mr. Eldon Boes
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - Washington
SUBJECT: Data and Analysis Quality Standards for NREL Energy Analysis
I have appreciated the opportunity to attend NREL's monthly "Energy
Seminars" held in NREL's Washington, DC, office. They have revealed a
variety of "analytical" activities relating to renewable energy that I would
not otherwise have heard about.
However, as a citizen, consumer and taxpayer, I have a serious concern
concern that was heightened by the presentation made at today's seminar,
entitled "Economic Impacts of Wind Power in Kittitas County" (in the state of
As you know, today's presentation was based on a "study" done at the request
of the Phoenix Group, a pro-wind group in Ellensburg, Washington. The
"study" cannot, in any reasonable way, be considered to be an objective
evaluation of the potential economic impact of proposed "wind farms" in the
For example, the author's use of telephone interviews with tax assessors
cannot be considered an acceptable way to estimate the potential impact of
the proposed "wind farms" on property values in the Kittitas Valley. No
serious economist would endorse the use of tax assessors' estimates as a
valid proxy for market values of property. There are other deficiencies in
the "study" but that step alone should have alerted NREL officials that the
"study" should not be taken seriously.
Today's presentation is not the first one where questionable analysis
been on display. Other presentations have covered studies that were driven
by preconceived conclusions and arbitrary assumptions rather than sound data
collection and analytical techniques. In some cases, those making the
presentations have been unable or unwilling to supply details on the
assumptions that drove the conclusions they presented. Still others have
used statistical analysis methods that one is taught, in entry level college
statistical courses, to avoid.
NREL exists on tax dollars and, therefore, has a public interest obligation
to strive mightily to encourage, support, perform and publicize only high
quality, objective analysis. I suggest that NREL develop and promulgate
analytical standards that would preclude what now appears to be NREL's
willingness to tolerate low quality analysis. Quality of the analysis, not
whether the analysts' conclusions lend support for renewable energy, should
be the criterion that guides NREL's performance, support, encouragement and
publicizing of analytical activities.
cc: Interested parties Glenn R. Schleede