public and private sectors will need to perform extensive research, development, and demonstration over the next decade. Given the spectrum of uncertainties involved in the creation and deployment of new technologies, together with the differing technological needs and circumstances across the nation, a portfolio that supports a broad range of initiatives from basic research through demonstration will likely be more effective than targeted efforts to identify and select technology winners and losers. High-priority technology demonstration opportunities during the next decade include CCS, evolutionary nuclear power technologies, cellulosic ethanol, and advanced light-duty vehicles. Research and development opportunities during the next decade include advanced batteries and fuel cells, advanced large-scale storage for electrical load management, enhanced geothermal power, and advanced solar photovoltaic technologies.
Eighth, a number of current barriers are likely to delay or even prevent the accelerated deployment of the energy-supply and end-use technologies described in this report. Policy and regulatory actions, as well as other incentives, will be required to overcome these barriers. For technologies to be accepted in the market they must be clearly attractive—in terms of their performance, convenience, and cost—to investors, purchasers, and users. Regulations and standards that target performance characteristics can do a great deal to spur technological development and help improve market attractiveness.
Although the committee has done its best to identify those technologies likely to be available over the next two to three decades, many uncertainties remain on the scientific, technological, and policy frontiers and in energy markets. Consequently, the technology options identified in this report should be considered as important first-step technology assessments rather than as forecasts.