LOOKING AHEAD

The future holds great promise. New discoveries, advanced technologies, and high-tech engineering may transform the energy landscape—and with it the shape of society. Public-private partnerships will play an important role in the development of these new technologies and will increase the chances of their adoption in the marketplace. But our energy makeover will be a very gradual and uneven process. The current energy infrastructure is huge—and hugely valuable. Changing it will and should be a careful, deliberative matter unaffected by sudden popular enthusiasms or technological fads.


One thing is certain: There will be no single “silver bullet” solution to our energy needs. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a robust variety of sources. New devices, processes, and systems will surely be offered, but not every new technology works, and even those that do are not always adopted by consumers. If the history of human ingenuity is a reliable guide, however, America will find ways to flourish on energy that is sustainable, responsible, and secure.



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The future holds great promise. New unaffected by sudden popular enthusiasms or discoveries, advanced technologies, and technological fads. high-tech engineering may transform the energy landscape—and with it the shape One thing is certain: There will be no single of society. Public-private partnerships “silver bullet” solution to our energy needs. will play an important role in the Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come development of these new technologies from a robust variety of sources. New devices, and will increase the chances of their processes, and systems will surely be offered, adoption in the marketplace. But our but not every new technology works, and energy makeover will be a very gradual even those that do are not always adopted by and uneven process. The current consumers. If the history of human ingenuity energy infrastructure is huge—and is a reliable guide, however, America will find hugely valuable. Changing it will and ways to flourish on energy that is sustainable, should be a careful, deliberative matter responsible, and secure. 30

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The information in this booklet was derived from data provided by the Energy Information Administration and from the following National Research Council reports. Specific citations can be found in the online version of the booklet at www.nationalacademies.org/energybooklet. Coal: Research and Development to Support National Energy Policy (2007) The Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects (2007) Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase Two) (2007) Alternatives to the Indian Point Energy Center for Meeting New York Electric Power Needs (2006) Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase One): A First Look Forward (2005) Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report (2005) The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs (2004) Novel Approaches to Carbon Management: Separation, Capture, Sequestration, and Conversion to Useful Products—Workshop Report (2003) Review of the DOE’s Vision 21 Research and Development Program, Phase 1 (2003) Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards (2002) Partnerships for Solid-State Lighting: Report of a Workshop (2002) Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 (2001) Renewable Power Pathways: A Review of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Programs (2000) Reports from the National Academies are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001; 800-624-6242; www.nap.edu. Reports are available online in a fully searchable format. 31

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This publication was written by Curt Suplee, based ILLUSTRATION CREDITS on an original draft by Allen Bard, Marilyn Brown, Mike Corradini, and Jeremy Mark. It was edited by Cover © Peter Dazeley/Photographer’s Choice; Stephen Mautner and Terrell Smith in collaboration 1 © Digital Stock; 2 © PhotoDisc; 3 C. Mayhew & R. with Jim Zucchetto, Alan Crane, and the National Simmon (NASA/GSFC), NOAA/ NGDC, DMSP Digital Research Council’s Board on Energy and Environ- Archive; 4 (t) © PhotoDisc/Kent Knudson/PhotoLink; mental Systems. The interior was designed by (b) © Corbis; 6 © Digital Stock; 7 (t) iStockphoto.com; Francesca Moghari and the cover was designed by (b) Joel Renner—DOE/NREL; 9 © Digital Stock; Michele de la Menardiere. Production was managed 10 © Image Club Graphics; 12 © Patrick J. Endres/ by Dorothy Lewis. AlaskaPhotoGraphics.com; 13 © PhotoDisc/Jack Star/ PhotoLink; 14 © Corbis; 15 © Corbis; 16 (t) © Photo- We would like to thank Lawrence Livermore National Disc/PhotoLink; (b) © Corbis; 17 (t) © PhotoDisc; Laboratory (www.llnl.gov) and the Communications (b) © Corbis; 20 © PhotoDisc; 21 (t) © Daimler AG; Institute (www.communicationsinstitute.org) for their (b) VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm; 22 (t) Terrell Smith; contributions to this booklet. (b) Steven Puetzer/Getty Images; 23 © PhotoDisc/C. Lee/PhotoLink; 24 Courtesy Westinghouse Nuclear; 25 VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm; 26 Courtesy Tesla Motors; 27 (t) VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm; (b) Matt Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. Stiveson and DOE/NREL; 28 DOE; 29 Charles Bensinger/ All rights reserved. Renewable Energy Partners of New Mexico and DOE/ NREL; 30 NASA Figure on p.18 by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. All other artwork by Danial James Studios. Pie charts, bar graphs, and line graphs based on information from the Energy Information Administration.

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Board on Energy and Environmental Systems Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences National Research Council Douglas M. Chapin,* Chair, MPR Associates, Inc. Robert W. Fri, Vice Chair, Resources for the Future Rakesh Agrawal,* Purdue University Allen J. Bard,† University of Texas Andrew Brown, Jr.,* Delphi Corporation Marilyn Brown, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Georgia Institute of Technology Michael L. Corradini,* University of Wisconsin, Madison Paul A. DeCotis, State of New York, Office of the Governor E. Linn Draper, Jr.,* American Electric Power, Inc. Charles H. Goodman, Southern Company Services, Inc. (retired) David G. Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council James J. Markowsky,* American Electric Power Service Corporation (retired) David K. Owens, Edison Electric Institute William F. Powers,* Ford Motor Company (retired) Michael P. Ramage,* ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (retired) Maxine L. Savitz,* Honeywell, Inc. (retired) Scott W. Tinker, University of Texas, Austin Member, National Academy of Engineering. * Member, National Academy of Sciences. †

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W H AT YO U N E E D T O K N O W A B O U T What You Need to Know About Energy is one in a series of informational booklets designed to engage readers in current topics in science, engineering, and medicine. Each booklet provides accurate information about a complex issue that affects us as individuals and as a nation. Sound knowledge about such issues is critical if citizens are to evaluate debates and make informed decisions in our increasingly technological world. National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council