To enable this portfolio approach in the electricity sector, the viability of two key technologies must be demonstrated during the next decade to allow for their widespread deployment starting around 2020:
Demonstrate whether CCS technologies for sequestering carbon from the use of coal and natural gas to generate electricity are technically and commercially viable for application to both existing and new power plants. This will require the construction before 2020 of a suite (~15–20) of retrofit and new demonstration plants with CCS featuring a variety of feedstocks, generation technologies, carbon capture strategies, and geologic storage locations.
Demonstrate whether evolutionary nuclear plants are commercially viable in the United States by constructing a suite of about five plants during the next decade.
A failure to demonstrate the viability of these technologies during the next decade would greatly restrict options to reduce the electricity sector’s CO2 emissions over succeeding decades. The urgency of getting started on these demonstrations to clarify future deployment options cannot be overstated.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the liquid-fuel-based transportation sector in the 2020–2035 timeframe will also require a portfolio approach that includes cellulosic ethanol and coal-and-biomass-to-liquid fuels. Coal-and-biomass-to-liquid fuels can be produced in quantity starting around 2020 but will not have low carbon emissions unless geologic storage of CO2 is demonstrated to be safe and commercially viable by 2015. Further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could potentially be achieved in the transportation sector through electrification of the light-duty vehicle fleet, together with the production of electricity and hydrogen in ways that emit little or no CO2, assuming the availability of suitable batteries or fuel cells. Although substantial reductions in emissions via these pathways are not likely until late in the 2020–2035 period and beyond, the widespread deployment of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles during that time also holds some hope for more substantial long-term emission reductions in the transportation sector.
Seventh, to enable accelerated deployments of new energy technologies starting around 2020, and to ensure that innovative ideas continue to be explored, the