The development of advanced controls and improved gearboxes appear to be well within the capabilities of industry. OPT should investigate the potential of the global wind energy market because overseas markets could be essential for a struggling U.S. industry. Special requirements in these markets may include power system integration and a demonstrated ability to operate under many different environmental conditions.
DOE should develop a technology road map for distributed power-generation technologies to define the role of, and program goals for, distributed power systems in restructured electricity markets. DOE could then define the potential benefits of expanded markets for distributed power technologies and provide an analysis for policy decisions on distributed power markets. DOE should facilitate the development of commercial, institutional, and regulatory standards to open national markets to distributed power technologies. Local variations in standards, ranging from building codes and environmental permits to utility practices and tariffs, will require national coordination. DOE should increase its efforts to develop interconnection standards and national energy strategies to address institutional and operating barriers to the deployment of new technologies.
Assessing the effects of, and responding to, the changes in the electricity sector require global resource assessments and the identification of alternative markets. Wind, geothermal, and biomass power technologies are all faced by transmission barriers—especially rules for independent system operations. The success of intermittent renewable energy technologies (e.g., wind, photovoltaics) will depend on energy storage technologies. As renewable energy technologies mature toward market viability, these and similar issues should be included in OPT's technology development programs. A strong commitment to the integration of renewable energy technologies into the broader energy economy through crosscutting functions could improve the chances of real-world success for all renewable energy technologies.