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President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. federal government to undertake a Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), with the first multi-agency report scheduled for Jan. 31, 2015.

Unlike the long-standing Quadrennial Defense Review, a legislatively mandated report of U.S. Department of Defense priorities and strategy, the QER is an executive order that creates a task force that essentially includes all executive departments and agencies with any effect on energy policy, production or consumption.

According to the White House, the initial focus for the QER will be the U.S. energy grid. The executive order says the nation's infrastructure for transporting, transmitting and delivering energy is increasingly challenged by transformations in energy supply, markets and patterns of end-use. Moreover, issues such as aging, capacity, the impacts of climate change, and cyber and physical threats are to be addressed in the first QER report.

The presidential memorandum establishing the QER casts a wide net. In addition to mandated federal input, the QER task force is instructed to seek the views of state and local governments; non-governmental, environmental, faith-based, labor and other social organizations; and academic and nonprofit sectors.

Obama says the interagency QER task force will develop an integrated review of energy policy that builds on his energy security blueprint of March 2011 and last June's Climate Action Plan.

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