• How and why are advanced energy technologies accepted or rejected by consumers?
• What are the barriers to adoption?
• Will the public accept a specific technology and why?
• What market conditions are needed for a technology to compete?
• What is the role of public policy to efficiently and effectively push and pull advanced technologies into the marketplace?
• How are technologies transferred and diffused internationally?
Other types of multidisciplinary research that are needed include strategic energy analyses and full life cycle assessments of new energy technologies. The potential benefits of such a research program are significant. Estimates are as high $1.2 trillion in energy savings through 2020 from wide scale implementation of energy efficiency technologies in the U.S. With or without new technologies, more behavioral research is also needed concerning the patterns, incentives, and decisions that determine individuals’ energy usage. Well-designed social science experiments can yield important insights about how people react to various policies and technologies. Continuity is important. In many cases, large-scale datasets exist or can be easily collected concerning such questions, but are not easy to study because of proprietary or regulatory obstructions. DOE should work with OMB, energy providers, and researchers to facilitate the compilation of energy usage data under both routine and experimental conditions. Other disciplines, such as history and international case studies, can also deliver important lessons.
—Excerpted from President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Report to the President on Accelerating the Pace of Change in Energy Technologies Through an Integrated Federal Energy Policy, November 2010. Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcastenergy-tech-report.pdf (accessed March 8, 2012).