An article in yesterday's Washington Post incorrectly reported that energy plans offered by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and President Carter would save an estimated 4 billion and 4.5 billion barrels of oil per day by 1990. The correct estimates are 4 million and 4.5 million, respectively.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) yesterday set himself at odds with President Carter once again by proposing an energy program that relies on conservation and incentives to private industry.

Kennedy, steering clear of any direct criticism of the president, told a crowded news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building that he generally supports the energy program Carter outlined in a dramatic speech 10 days ago.

But, he added, legislation that he and Sen. John A. Durkin (D-N.H.), an outspoken Carter critic, intend to introduce would "achieve the same result with less cost." It also would cause less damage to the environment and involve less bureaucratic red tape, he said.

Kennedy's plan, first outlined Monday in a speech to the National Urban League convention in Chicago, takes a drastically different approach to the energy crisis than the president's proposals do.

And perhaps more importantly, it sets up another political confrontation between Carter and Kennedy -- the two also have disagreed over defense spending and national health insurance -- at a time when the president is trailing Kennedy 2 to 1 in public opinion polls.

Kennedy's proposal relies entirely on grants and loans to businesses and individuals.

Kennedy and Durkin estimated it would save 4 billion barrels of oil a day by 1990 at a cost of $58.4 billion.

Carter's plan, based primarily on development of synthetic fuels, is aimed at saving 4.5 billion barrels of oil a day by the late 1980s at a cost of $142 billion. About 500,000 barrels of that savings would come from residential conservation.

The Kennedy-Durkin plan calls for:

Direct payments to homeowners and apartment dwellers who make energy-saving improvements to their homes. Individuals could be reimbursed by the government for up to $750. This proposal is modeled after a Canadian program that Kennedy said has been much more effective than the tax incentives used to encourage energy savings in the United States.

Low-interest loans (3 percent) to commercial business owners who make energy-saving moves.

A combination of grants and loans to industries that reduce the amount of energy they use in production. In the most generous of these, firms would receive a direct payment of $15 for every barrel of oil they save for a year. A factory that reduced oil use by 100,000 barrels, for example, would receive $1.5 million.

At his news conference, Kennedy avoided calling his plan an alternative to the president's. Instead, he said he hoped a "melting" process would emerge, with Congress incorporating the president's proposals, his own, and those of others such as Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.), chairman of the Energy Committee.

Asked if his energy plan signaled that he will challenge Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination, Kennedy replied, "I have always been enormously interested in the issue of energy."