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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
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Appendix D

Technology Readiness

The technology readiness level (TRL) taxonomy is the most commonly utilized method for determining a given technology’s readiness for ultimate application in electricity generation, energy storage, and power delivery, or utilization in power systems. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed the TRL taxonomy as an aid to managing its space-related research and development. TRLs also are a convenient means of describing the stage of development of increasingly clean electric power technologies because they are intended to enable a consistent comparison of technological maturity across disparate technologies. However, the complexity of power systems makes the TRL assessment imperfect since components of a given system in development are usually at differing levels of technology readiness, meaning that some components are at high TRLs, while others are at low TRLs.

The committee assessed the technology readiness of a variety of increasingly clean electric power technologies; this appendix presents the results of that assessment. Table D-1 provides an approximate guide to how each TRL number corresponds to a specific stage of technological development. As the table indicates, TRLs encompass basic (blue-sky) research in new technologies and concepts (targeted identified goals, but not necessarily specific systems), focused technology development addressing specific technologies for one or more potential applications, technology development and demonstration for each application, system development, and commercialization.

To conduct this analysis, the committee had to reduce the extensive number of individual increasingly clean energy technologies to a manageable size. A review of currently available technologies prompted the committee to focus on a broad spectrum of technology options for achieving the transition to an increasingly clean electrical system while leaving the door open for potentially game-changing technical innovations. The committee used the

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

TABLE D-1 Technology Readiness Levels

Technology Readiness Level Description
1 Exploratory research transitioning basic science into laboratory applications
2 Technology concepts and/or application formulated
3 Proof-of-concept validation
4 Subsystem or component validation in a laboratory environment to simulate service conditions
5 Early system validation demonstrated in laboratory or limited field application
6 Early field demonstration and system refinements completed
7 Complete system demonstration in an operational environment
8 Early commercial deployment (serial nos. 1, 2, etc.)
9 Wide-scale commercial deployment

SOURCE: Mankins, 1995.

following process to identify and categorize the technologies with the greatest potential:

  • The committee created a master list of all technologies known to its members, including those referenced in the literature.
  • The committee then reduced that list by selecting for technologies expected to have the greatest potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other pollutants and eliminating those with few technical or market prospects. These conclusions were based on an extensive literature review. The resulting reduced list reflects the committee’s assignment of the highest priority to technologies that can both reduce energy consumption and accelerate the generation of power with no or low emissions. This reduced list, with detailed explanations, is included in this appendix and summarized in Table D-2.

As discussed in Chapter 2, the committee’s review of available technologies indicated that there does not yet exist a suite of clean power technologies that can meet global demand at reasonable cost. Continued innovation, with particular attention to bridging the so-called “valleys of death” (see Chapter 3), is imperative. Therefore, policies need to address not only the deployment of clean energy technologies that are currently available but also the development of the technologies that are needed.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

TABLE D-2 Promising Technologies for Increasingly Clean Electric Power

Technology Category Technology Readiness Levela
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Renewable Power Generation
1: Electric energy storage
2: Hydro and marine hydrokinetic powerb
3: Advanced solar photovoltaic powerc
4: Advanced concentrating solar power
5: Advanced solar thermal heating
6: Advanced biomass power
7: Engineered/enhanced geothermal systems
8: Advanced wind turbine technologies
9: Advanced integration of distributed resources at high percent
Advanced Fossil Fuel Power Generation
10: Carbon capture, transport, and storage
11: Advanced natural gas power and combined heat and power (CHP)c
12: Water and wastewater treatment
Nuclear Power Generation
13: Advanced nuclear reactors
14: Small modular nuclear reactors
15: Long-term operation of existing nuclear plants
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
Technology Category Technology Readiness Levela
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Electricity Transmission and Distribution
16: Advanced high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technologies
17: Reducing electricity use in power systems
18: Smart-grid technologies (grid modernization)
19: Increased power flow in transmission systems
20: Advanced power electronics
Energy Efficiency
21: Efficient electrical technologies for buildings and industry

aTechnology readiness levels are shown on a scale of 1 to 9, where 1 is the least ready. Most of the technology categories shown include technologies with varying readiness levels. A shaded box below a TRL number indicates there is at least one technology at that TRL.

bThe committee identified barriers at lower TRLs for hydropower technologies but was unable to make specific level assignments.

cFor concepts beyond three junctions.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

Technology Category: 1. Electric Energy Storage

Description: Electric energy storage technologies for electric power applications with benefits for renewables integration; ancillary services; time arbitrage of on- and off-peak energy; and capital deferral at the grid connected, distribution, and customer levels are becoming better understood. Pumped hydro storage (generation from hydro sources is described under category 2) is the most prevalent storage technology at present, with 40 plants operating in the United States and capacity totaling more than 22 gigawatts (GW). Compressed air energy storage (CAES) technologies store ambient air at pressure in underground caverns. CAES produces electricity by releasing the air through a turbine-driven generator. Adiabatic CAES can achieve higher efficiency by recovering the heat of compression. Battery technologies vary tremendously in their underlying design and performance characteristics but hold great promise to allow for increased penetration of variable and distributed power resources. They also are used to provide other services including peak shaving, ramping, spinning reserve, and backup for specific uses such as data centers.

Image

TRL Now TRL in 20201 TRL in 20352
9 (pumped hydro)
9 (compressed air)
4 (adiabatic compressed air)
9 (Li-ion batteries)
9 (lead acid batteries)
6-9 (flow batteries)
3-7 (Zn-air batteries)
7 (aqueous hybrid ion batteries)
Not available Not available

___________________

1 The committee did not assess the 2020 TRLs for electric energy storage.

2 The committee did not assess the 2035 TRLs for electric energy storage.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
3-4 (liquid metal batteries)

Technology Barriers: There is a need for cycle-testing protocols for grid-scale storage. Once such protocols are developed, there will be a need to test single-cell and multi-cell systems under real-world conditions. Key needs are to reduce response times to demand and increase the total storage capability in order to make stored electricity dispatchable. Decreasing internal losses and improving calendar life are also important.

Commercialization Barriers: Electricity storage is not a mainstream technology considered in planning, building, and operating electric power infrastructure. Several regulatory, policy, financial, and awareness issues will have to be addressed before it can be accepted and exploited as part of the electricity supply chain. The most effective technology for large-scale electric energy storage at this time continues to be pumped hydro. Although that technology is relatively mature, the availability of new sites is extremely limited.

Technology Category: 2. Hydro and Marine Hydrokinetic (MHK) Power

Description: Large conventional hydro generation (greater than 30 megawatts [MW]) had an installed capacity in the United States of approximately 79,000 MW as of 2014, with the technical potential to double large (as well as small) hydro capacity. However, this expansion will likely not be realized by 2035 because of regulatory and financing constraints. MHK power technologies are still in various stages of development. Technologies to utilize ocean currents are in the proof-of-concept and laboratory demonstration phases. Wave, tidal, and ocean thermal technologies have components that have gone as far as open-water operation, although none have undergone array testing, and many wave and tidal technologies are still in the demonstration phases.

Image

TRL Now

9 (conventional hydro; however, barriers identified at lower

TRL in 20203

9 (conventional hydro; however, barriers identified at lower

TRL in 20354

9 (conventional hydro; however, barriers identified at lower

___________________

3 The committee did not assess the 2020 TRLs for MHK generation technologies.

4 The committee did not assess the 2035 TRLs for MHK generation technologies.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
TRLs)
5 (ocean thermal)
5 (tidal)
5 (wave)
4-5 (ocean current)
TRLs)
Not available for MHK technologies
TRLs)
Not available for MHK technologies

Technology Barriers: Improved operational performance of turbine runner and major components; improved flow measurement and control to reduce turbulence and increase energy conversion; fish passage/protection and environmental management; enhanced dam safety; development of room temperature superconductors (RTSs), precisely above 0° C. Some MHK technologies still require significant technology development. None have yet undergone array testing. Critical barriers include developing advanced controls and power take-off technologies, and optimizing device structures to improve energy capture, decrease mass, and improve system reliability.

Commercialization Barriers: Long-term financing for capital projects; long timeline for licensing and relicensing projects; low natural gas prices for competing generation; financial markets for hydro to benefit from providing ancillary services support.

Technology Category: 3. Advanced Solar Photovoltaic Power

Description: Triple-junction photovoltaic (PV) devices exist and have achieved efficiencies of ~43 percent under concentration with very advanced fabrication technology (the highest efficiencies were obtained with structures based on stacks of epitaxial III-V compounds), but represent the first actual devices to demonstrate very high efficiency potential.

Image

TRL Now
5-6
TRL in 2020
7-8
TRL in 2035
9

Technology Barriers: Multijunction cells (e.g., the incremental gain from adding another cell to a stack of N junctions is theoretically proportional to 1/N(squared); therefore, after including the per-junction losses (electrical and optical) in a practical device, the expected net gain from adding cells is close to zero after the 4th).

Commercialization Barriers: Needed cost reductions associated with each cell junction addition; utility-scale solar power generation assets depreciated as 5-year property.

Technology Category: 4. Advanced Concentrating Solar Power

Description: Concentrating solar power (CSP) encompasses a variety of configurations, including parabolic troughs, heliostats, and linear Fresnel

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

reflector systems that range in size from a few kilowatts to 50 MW or more. The maturity of the technologies also varies. Approximately 4.8 GW of parabolic trough capacity is installed worldwide. Heliostats account for about 560 MW of installed capacity globally, while there is less than 50 MW of linear Fresnel systems installed.

Image

TRL Now
7-8 (heliostats)
6-7 (linear Fresnel reflector)
9 (parabolic trough)
TRL in 2020
9 (heliostats)
7-8 (linear Fresnel reflector)
9 (parabolic trough)
TRL in 2035
9 (heliostats)
7-8 (linear Fresnel reflector)
9 (parabolic trough)

Technology Barriers: Cost-effective thermal energy storage; low-cost solar fields; high-temperature receivers; advanced power block technologies; high-temperature heat transfer fluids with low melting points.

Commercialization Barriers: Financing; land use; siting issues in environmentally sensitive areas; transmission; regulatory framework; manufacturing; utility-scale solar power generation assets currently depreciated as 5-year property; supply chain.

Technology Category: 5. Advanced Solar Thermal Heating

Description: Solar thermal heating is used primarily for producing residential hot water, for space heating, and for heating pools. Use in North America has declined because of the high cost compared with other technologies, although use for pool heating remains quite cost-competitive. Solar thermal technologies continue to do well outside of North America where conventional fuels such as natural gas cost more. China remains the largest solar thermal market, with a preponderance of low-cost thermosiphon-type systems. Solar thermal for process applications is another area of great potential.

Image

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
TRL Now
5 (low-cost solar thermal system for North America)
6 (solar thermal for process heating)
7 (PV-solar thermal combi-systems for water and home heating)
8 (pool heating systems)
TRL in 2020
6 (low-cost solar thermal system for North America)
7 (solar thermal for process heating)
7 (PV-solar thermal combi-systems for water and home heating)
8 (pool heating systems)
TRL in 2035
8 (low-cost solar thermal for North America)
8 (solar thermal for process heating)
8 (PV-solar thermal combi-systems for water and home heating)
9 (pool heating systems)

Technology Barriers: Low-cost systems with plug-and-play installation for residential and commercial use; large field integration for industrial applications; measurement of solar thermal output.

Commercialization Barriers: Incomplete value chain; lack of knowledge among building owners and/or operators; insufficient incentives to adopt new technology; split incentives between building owners and operators.

Technology Category: 6. Advanced Biomass Power

Description: Biomass power production, frequently referred to as biopower, refers to power generation from biomass sources such as grasses, straws, forest products, and energy crops. Pretreatment processes such as leaching and torrefaction help eliminate deleterious components from biomass and increase the energy density of biomass, making it more suitable as a fuel whether direct- or co-fired. Wood is the most common biopower fuel, generating more than 42 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity in 2015 (nearly twice the electricity produced by utility-scale solar PV).

Image

TRL Now
4 (leaching)
5 (torrefaction)
8-9 (direct-fired wood)
8 (co-fired wood)
TRL in 2020
7 (leaching)
7 (torrefaction)
9 (direct-fired wood)
9 (co-fired wood)
TRL in 2035
8 (for availability of commercial integrated leaching + torrefaction plants)
9 (direct-fired
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
wood)
9 (co-fired wood)

Technology Barriers: Leaching/torrefaction plant demonstration projects; pilot burning tests using leached plus torrefied biomass in existing boilers; power production (e.g., distributed bipower systems, high-efficiency conversion technologies); feedstock development (e.g., efficient forest-thinning techniques, higher-yield crops/trees, improved biomass upgrading technology).

Commercialization Barriers: Cost of leached + torrefied biomass 3 times higher than that of coal on a per million British thermal units (MMBtu) basis; lack of leaching + torrefaction demonstration plants large enough to support pilot burning tests; high cost of delivered feedstock.

Technology Category: 7. Engineered/Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Description: Margin stimulation is being examined for the purpose of converting dry in-field wells that were originally deemed failures, while a hot dry rock method is also being considered to access existing subsurface heat in a wide geographic area by using water or supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2).

Image

TRL Now
3-4 (hot dry rock)
6 (margin stimulation)
TRL in 2020
5-7 (hot dry rock)
8-9 (margin stimulation)
TRL in 2035
7-8 (hot dry rock)
9 (margin stimulation)

Technology Barriers: Cost-effective deep drilling technologies; high-temperature subsurface drilling instrumentation.

Commercialization Barriers: Cost and risk (e.g., cost for deep well completion can be tens of millions of dollars per well); ability to stimulate sufficiently large reservoir per well drilled; ability to create reservoir as designed and manage reservoir growth during operation; utility-scale geothermal power generation assets currently depreciated as 5-year property.

Technology Category: 8. Advanced Wind Turbine Technologies

Description: New wind generator technologies include advanced direct-drive permanent magnet generators (ADDPMGs), high-temperature superconducting generators (HTSCGs), and room-temperature superconducting generators (RTSCGs). Their development could reduce the levelized cost of electricity, increase capacity factors, reduce generator weight, and support the search of the wind industry for larger-scale wind

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

platforms (in the 10-15 MW range), especially for off-shore wind.

Image

TRL Now
5-6 (ADDPMG)
5-6 (HTSCG)
2 (RTSCG)
TRL in 2020
7-8 (ADDPMG)
7-8 (HTSCG)
5 (RTSCG)
TRL in 2035
8 (ADDPMG)
8 (HTSCG)
7 (RTSCG)

Technology Barriers: ADDPMGs—structural robustness, long-term reliability, scale-up to 10 megawatts thermal (MWt); HTSCGs—industrialization of cryocoolers/low maintenance/higher efficiencies; RTSCGs—development of RTSs, precisely above 0° C.

Commercialization Barriers: Competitive capital cost and efficiency of commercial units; no evaluation of independent demonstration projects, including transportation, field assembly and operating performance; high perceived risk increase financial costs.

Technology Category: 9. Advanced Integration of Distributed Resources at Higher Rates

Description: Integrating a large amount of distributed resources into the power grid in an economical and sustainable way while ensuring system reliability will require new tools and methods. Understanding of the impacts on the rest of the power system, planning to ensure that the power system infrastructure can accommodate high penetrations of variable generation, and development of the operational tools needed to manage some of the unique aspects of wind and solar PV are needed. The scale of integration matters for both large-scale and distributed systems. Integrating distributed resources to supply more than 15 percent of the load will require smart inverters that enable distributed energy resources to provide voltage and frequency support and to communicate with energy management systems. It will also require distribution management systems and ubiquitous sensors so operators can reliably integrate distributed generation, storage, and end-use devices while also interconnecting those systems with transmission resources in real time.

Image

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
TRL Now
6-7 (integration of small-scale distributed systems)
8-9 (integration of large-scale renewable systems)
TRL in 2020
8-9 (integration of small-scale distributed systems)
8-9 (integration of large-scale renewable systems)
TRL in 2035
8-9 (integration of small-scale distributed systems)
9 (integration of large-scale renewable systems)

Technology Barriers: Variability and uncertainty of production, limiting the penetration in certain areas because of a lack of system flexibility. Inverter-based nature of the technology, limiting instantaneous penetration in the system (more than 50 percent not currently possible in a synchronous system). Distributed nature resulting in less visibility and control and potential reliability impacts.

Commercialization Barriers: Distributed PV may reduce utility revenue while still requiring significant transmission and distribution upgrades; lack of additional revenue streams for variable generation; large balancing costs imposed on variable generation.

Technology Category: 10. Carbon Capture, Transport, and Storage

Description: Although it is not cost-competitive at present, CO2 capture and storage can work in fossil fuel power plants. There is also room for substantial improvement. Current technologies use three times the theoretical minimum energy to capture and compress CO2, and efforts to prove and improve CO2 capture and storage are in the early stages. Pipeline transportation of CO2 in the United States is quite mature, with 50 individual pipelines spanning more than 4,500 miles.

Image

TRL Now TRL in 2020 TRL in 2035
7-8 (capture)
9 (transport)
7-8 (storage)
8-9 (capture)
9 (transport)
8-9 (storage)
9 (capture)
9 (transport)
9 (storage)

Technology Barriers: Need to better understand long-term issues related to storage: impact on water tables, caprock, injection operations, liability (see Chapter 5 section on “Key Nonmarket Barriers”).

Commercialization Barriers: Lack of regulatory and economic drivers (see

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

Chapter 5 section on “Key Nonmarket Barriers”).

Technology Category: 11. Advanced Natural Gas Power and Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

Description: Advanced natural gas technologies, such as a new power generation concept based on the “Allam Cycle,” could provide power at a thermal efficiency exceeding 50 percent. Heat rates for other advanced technologies are approaching 5,400 Btu/kilowatt hour (kWh). Combined heat and power (CHP), a technology of interest to large industrial organizations with a significant demand for thermal energy (steam or hot water), is another promising technology. Current installations are almost universally large and custom designed. Small-scale systems are not as well developed. Small-scale users would benefit from the development of modular “plug and play” thermal appliances.

Image

TRL Now TRL in 2020 TRL in 2035
8-9 (advanced natural gas)
4-9 (CHP)
9 (advanced natural gas)
9 (CHP)
9 (advanced natural gas)
9 (CHP)

Technology Barriers: Need to prove the system (e.g., that it can operate as a whole while responding to typical demands of a natural gas-fired power plant); for micro-CHP, lack of availability of “plug and play” thermal appliances (most CHP installations need to be custom engineered).

Commercialization Barriers: In the long term, a continued preference for natural gas as a fuel source will pose a barrier to lowering GHG emissions.

Technology Category: 12. Water and Wastewater Treatment

Description: Water withdrawals and the treatment of wastewater are important limiting factors in the construction and operation of power plants. Conventional processes for generating desalinated (and deionized) water include reverse osmosis (RO), multistage flash distillation (MSF), and multiple effect desalination (MED). RO involves the use of membrane to generate pure water from salt water by applying a pressure higher than the osmotic pressure. MSF and MED involve thermal evaporation of water. In membrane distillation (MD), a heated aqueous solution passes through a hydrophobic membrane and is partially transformed to water vapor and collected as pure water. Electrodialysis (ED) transports salt ions through ion-exchange membranes under the influence of an applied electric potential

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

difference, and forward osmosis (FO) is an osmotic process using a semipermeable membrane to effect separation of water from dissolved solutes under an osmotic pressure gradient.

Image

TRL Now TRL in 2020 TRL in 2035
9 (reverse osmosis)
9 (multistage flash distillation)
9 (multiple effect desalination)
4-5 (membrane distillation)
4 (electrodialysis)
4-5 (forward osmosis)
9 (reverse osmosis)
9 (multistage flash distillation)
9 (multiple effect desalination)
7-9 (membrane distillation)
7 (electrodialysis)
7 (forward osmosis)
9 (reverse osmosis)
9 (multistage flash distillation)
9 (multiple effect desalination)
9 (membrane distillation)
9 (electrodialysis)
9 (forward osmosis)

Technology Barriers: RO—high power consumption and limitations of high salt concentration and fouling; MSF and MED—high investment, corrosion, energy cost; MD—availability of membrane with high flux; ED—energy-intensive, high treatment cost (which depends on salt concentration), competitive with RO in some cases (particularly for brackish water applications), fouling; FO—separation of draw solutes and high-flux membranes. The economics of FO are as yet unclear. Some studies argue that FO is economically/technologically less attractive than RO, while others argue the opposite. FO membranes are of insufficient permeability, and higher-permeability membranes are needed. Moreover, solute crossover limits use of FO for potable water production. In addition, draw solution requires regeneration, which adds to the overall cost. As in the case of RO, fouling and mineral scaling are of concern, and experience with FO systems in this regard is currently limited.

Commercialization Barriers: RO—development of membrane with less fouling; thermal distillation processes—predominantly large investment and energy costs; MD—need for significant improvements in pure water flux, probably by an order of magnitude, and need to prove cost and advantages through extensive field demonstration; ED—more complex to deploy for very large-scale systems, opportunities for integration of RO and ED for high--

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

recovery water desalination applications; FO—must be proven superior to RO technology to gain a foothold in the commercial world, although niche applications are expected, especially where technical limitations prevent the use of RO (e.g., in treatment of high-salinity produced water).

Technology Category: 13. Advanced Nuclear Reactors

Description: Advanced reactor designs are intended to provide increased safety margins, reduce costs, and extend the length of useful life for nuclear power plants. A large number of systems are under development, including several that use gas, molten salts, or liquid metals for cooling instead of light water. There has been much development activity in the field of advanced nuclear power plant systems over the past 15 years, but a great deal of additional work will be needed for commercialization of these systems. Given the likely importance of very low-carbon or zero-carbon dispatchable power sources, the continued development of these systems is of high priority. The committee recognizes developments around the world that are under way that employ various technologies.

Image

TRL Now
1-9
TRL in 2020
None assigned
TRL in 2035
None assigned

Technology Barriers: Need to develop materials capable of withstanding high neutron flux densities; no demand pull; spent fuel issue (see Chapter 5 section on “Nuclear Innovation Prospects and Obstacles”).

Commercialization Barriers: Commercializing nuclear-related innovations is an expensive, lengthy, and risky process; need to develop regulations tailored to new technology systems (see Chapter 5 section on “Nuclear Innovation Prospects and Obstacles”).

Technology Category: 14. Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Description: Small modular reactors (SMRs) are smaller in size (300 MW or less) than current-generation baseload plants (typically 1,000 MW or larger). There are several systems under development across the world based on both light water and advanced designs. The committee recognizes developments around the world that are under way that employ various technologies.

Image

TRL Now TRL in 2020 TRL in 2035
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
1-9 None assigned None assigned

Technology Barriers: Designs need to be tested and proven (e.g., development of assessment methods for evaluating advanced SMR technologies and characteristics; development and testing of materials, fuels, and fabrication techniques; development of advanced instrumentation and controls and human-machine interfaces) (see Chapter 5 section on “Nuclear Innovation Prospects and Obstacles”).

Commercialization Barriers: Cost and lack of experience; commercializing nuclear-related innovations is an expensive, lengthy, and risky process; need to develop regulations tailored to new technology systems (see Chapter 5 section on “Nuclear Innovation Prospects and Obstacles”).

Technology Category: 15. Long-Term Operation of Existing Nuclear Power Plants

Description: Research is needed to address the technical bases for decisions regarding the continued high-performance operation of nuclear power plants. The research will need to address aging and life-cycle management, refurbishment and uprate decisions, and opportunities for modernization and performance improvement—especially needed to understand materials degradation and aging. Spent fuel continues to be a challenge, although local solutions—mainly onsite storage—are emerging in the absence of a single, central repository at the national level. The committee recognizes developments around the world that are under way that employ various technologies.

Image

TRL Now
1-9
TRL in 2020
None assigned
TRL in 2035
None assigned

Technology Barriers: Little research on degradation and aging of materials, including concrete; new technologies for online monitoring of critical equipment; new safety and risk analysis tools; integrated life-cycle management data, methods, and tools; enhanced nuclear fuel designs and analysis.

Commercialization Barriers: Development of repair and mitigation tools/technologies; development of accident-tolerant fuels and technologies; plant demonstrations to assess the new technologies; code and regulatory acceptance.

Technology Category: 16. Advanced High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Technologies

Description: HVDC technology uses two types of converters: line

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

commutated converters (LCCs) and voltage sourced converters (VSCs). LCCs use thyristors, can operate at ultra-high voltages of up 800 kilovolts (kV) to 1,000 kV, and can transmit power in the range of 6,000-8,000 MW. In use for the past 40 years, LCC is considered to be a relatively mature technology with high reliability and dependability. VSCs use integrated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) and can operate at voltage levels of 320 kV and transmit power levels of 1000-1200 MW. However, VSC ratings increase continuously over time, and the technology has strong potential to take a major share of new HVDC applications, especially DC grids and multiterminal DC systems.

Image

TRL Now 7
(advanced LCC)
7 (advanced VSC)
TRL in 2020
9 (advanced LCC)
9 (advanced VSC)
TRL in 2035
9 (advanced LCC)
9 (advanced VSC)

Technology Barriers: Increase operating voltages and levels of power transmission for VSCs.

Commercialization Barriers: No U.S. companies developing HVDC systems as power grid is almost entirely AC. Investments in R&D.

Technology Category: 17. Reducing Electricity Use in Power Systems (Production and Delivery)

Description: The electricity industry is the second largest electricity-consuming industry in the United States. The use of electrical energy in the production of electricity, as well as the uses or losses in power delivery (transmission and distribution), contribute to this total. There are opportunities to reduce electricity use in power production and delivery. These opportunities may include advances in control systems for auxiliary power devices and the use of adjustable-speed drive mechanisms (ASDs).

Image

TRL Now
9
TRL in 2020
9
TRL in 2035
9

Technology Barriers: Power system designers seldom consider electrical losses in the design of power plants or transmission and distribution systems.

Commercialization Barriers: Retrofitting fossil or nuclear power plants

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

requires regulatory approval (Environmental Protection Agency or U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission), often necessitating a complete review of the plant and resulting in many compliance requirements. State regulators are reluctant to consider distribution energy efficiency as part of energy-efficiency goals. Transmission operators pass-through losses, so have no incentive to reduce losses.

Technology Category: 18. Smart-Grid Technologies (Grid Modernization)

Description: Encompasses meters, appliances, power sources, phasor measurement units, power flow controls, and system automation. Smart-grid technologies permit systematic and reliable communication between suppliers and users, allowing for time-of-use pricing, peak load curtailment/leveling, smoother demand response, and greater penetration of variable and distributed generation sources.

Image

TRL Now
4-9
TRL in 2020
7-9
TRL in 2035
9

Technology Barriers: Mitigation of natural disaster impacts; cyber security of resources; accommodate and optimize the use of intelligent devices that reside at different points within the grid; integration of new and legacy technologies.

Commercialization Barriers: Savings may not be directly visible to consumers. Rate-based rate-of-return regulation may not allow for cost of infrastructure. Regulation may not allow for failed investment.

Technology Category: 19. Increased Power Flow in Transmission Systems

Description: Increasing power flow on existing and new transmission lines and corridors can facilitate greater use of renewable power generation options, enhance reliability, reduce control station power plant emissions, and reduce costs. Several technology options are commercially available, although some would benefit from additional advances. Others are in relatively early TRL stages and in need of continued development.

Image

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×
TRL Now
3-9
TRL in 2020
4-9
TRL in 2035
9

Technology Barriers: Standards need to be developed.

Commercialization Barriers: Savings may not be directly visible to consumers. Rate-based rate-of-return regulation may not allow for cost of infrastructure. Regulation may not allow failed investment.

Technology Category: 20. Advanced Power Electronics—Smart-Grid-Ready Inverters for Distributed Power Resources

Description: Increasing penetration of variable distributed energy resources (DER), especially solar PV systems on the distribution power grid, is creating grid integration challenges for utility engineers. Over voltage, reverse power flow, and excessive switching of capacitor banks and/or line tap changers often occur in circuits with higher penetration of variable generation sources such as solar PV. Some of these technical challenges can be resolved, or at least minimized, by employing the full potential of power electronics inside the inverters interfacing these sources with the electric grid. Inverters with grid supportive functionality, including reactive power support, low/high-voltage ride-through, watt-frequency, watt-voltage, and real power curtailment, can contribute to grid stability and hence help allow a higher adoption rate of variable DER technologies.

Image

TRL Now TRL in 2020 TRL in 2035
Mostly 6 and 7 (early demonstration); in Europe, especially in Germany: 8 (early commercial deployment) 9 9

Technology Barriers: Need for common communication protocols.

Commercialization Barriers: Absence of widely accepted grid interconnection standards (e.g., Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE] 1547) and testing standards (e.g., UL1741) to refer to regarding these smart-grid functionalities. There are also some open questions, such as the utility having access to customer-owned inverters, whether PV plant owners will be compensated for providing grid services, and whether a uniform grid code will be enforced.

Technology Category: 21. Efficient Electrical Technologies for Buildings and Industry

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

Description: Technologies are emerging that improve the efficiency of electricity use in buildings and industry, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); lighting; water heating; plug loads, such as LED lighting; variable-speed HVAC systems; heat pumps; water heaters; smart thermostats; and even industrial processes. New efficient industrial technologies are emerging that can reduce electricity use. These include automation; controls; process heating; process cooling; motive power; compressed air; and other processes, such as 3-D printing, sensor networks, microwave processing, and the use of ultraviolet and other electromagnetic processing. Developments include enabling load devices to be demand-responsive. Still other technologies and processes are being electrified. If the electric power system evolves to significantly reduce GHG and other pollution emissions, then electrification of technologies and processes holds promise for reducing emissions. For example, electric vehicles that draw power from low- or no-emissions electricity sources should have no or significantly reduced emissions compared with internal combustion-powered vehicles. Technologies were identified across the entire range of TRLs.

Image

TRL Now
1-9
TRL in 2020
None assigned
TRL in 2035
None assigned

Technology Barriers: Because of the range of technologies, a full accounting of the technology barriers is difficult to summarize. Most technologies require additional development and refinement to improve their performance profiles. Further electrification would require distribution system upgrades (see categories 18 and 19 and Chapter 6).

Commercialization Barriers: Incomplete value chain; lack of knowledge or disconnected incentives between building owners and operators.

SOURCES

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

Category 1: Electric energy storage

1. Based in part on information from: Apt, J., and P. Jaramillo. 2014. Variable renewable energy and the electricity grid. New York: RFF Press.

2. EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute). 2014. Bulk energy storage technologies: Performance potential, gird services and cost expectations. EPRI report 3002003966. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

3. EPRI. 2012. Coal technologies with CO2 capture—status, risks, and markets 2012. EPRI report 1023863. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

4. EPRI. 2008. Operation experience, risk and market assessment of clean coal technologies. EPRI report 1015679. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

5. DOE EAC (Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee). 2012 storage report: Progress and prospects. Recommendations for the U.S. Department of Energy. Washington, DC: DOE EAC. http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/EAC%20Paper%20%202012%20Storage%20Report%20-%2015%20Nov%202012.pdf.

Category 2: Hydro and marine hydrokinetic (MHK) power

1. DOE. 2012. An assessment of energy potential at non-powered dams in the United States. Oakridge, TN: Oakridge National Laboratory. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/water/pdfs/npd_report.pdf.

Category 3: Advanced solar photovoltaic power

1. EPRI. 2012. Engineering and economic evaluation of central-station solar photovoltaic power plants. EPRI report 10025005. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 4: Advanced concentrating solar power

1. EPRI. 2012. Field assessment and optimization of the Enel Archimede Concentrating Solar Power Plant. EPRI report 1026478. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 5: Advanced solar thermal heating

1. Individual correspondence with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Category 6: Advanced biomass power

1. EPRI. 2010. Engineering and economic evaluation of biomass power plants. EPRI report 1019762. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 7: Engineered/Enhanced geothermal systems

1. EPRI. 2010. Geothermal power: Issues, technologies, and opportunities for research development, demonstration, and deployment. EPRI report 1020783. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

Category 8: Advanced wind turbine technologies

1. EPRI. 2010. Advanced wind turbine technology assessment—2010. EPRI report 1019772. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 9: Advanced integration of distributed resources at higher rates

1. EPRI. 2014. The integrated grid: Realizing the full value of central and distributed energy resources. EPRI report 3002002733. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

2. DOE. 2013. 2013 renewable energy data book. Oakridge, TN: Oakridge National Laboratory.

3. DOE NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). 2012. Renewable Energy Futures Study. Washington, DC: DOE NREL.

Category 10: Carbon capture, transport, and storage

1. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2007. The future of coal: Options for a carbon-constrained world. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

2. NACAP (North American Carbon Atlas Partnership), NRCan (Natural Resources Canada), SENER (Mexican Ministry of Energy), and DOE. 2012. The North American Carbon Storage Atlas. https://www.netl.doe.gov/File%20Library/Research/Carbon-Storage/NACSA2012.pdf.

3. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). 2012. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP): Subpart PP—suppliers of carbon dioxide. Based on 2011 data. Washington, DC: EPA. https://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/subpart-pp-suppliers-carbon-dioxide.

4. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). 2012. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP): Subpart PP—suppliers of carbon dioxide. Based on 2011 data. Washington, DC: EPA. https://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/subpart-pp-suppliers-carbon-dioxide. MMT = million metric tons.

Category 11: Advanced natural gas power and combined heat and power (CHP)

1. DOE. 2012. Combined heat and power: A clean energy solution. Oakridge, TN: Oakridge National Laboratory.

2. DOE. 2002. CHP potential at federal sites. Oakridge, TN: Oakridge National Laboratory.

3. DOE/ICF International Inc. 2016. U.S. DOE Combined Heat and Power Installation Database.https://doe.icfwebservices.com/chpdb.

4. EPRI. 2013. Tracking the demand for electricity from grid services. EPRI report 3002001497. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

Category 12: Water and wastewater treatment

1. Electric Power Research Institute. 2009. Program on Technology Innovation: Electric Efficiency Through Water Supply Technologies—A Roadmap. EPRI report 1019360. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 13: Advanced nuclear reactors

1. World Nuclear Association. 2013. Small nuclear power reactors. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Small-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/#.UYPRZKCOs3E.

2. General Atomics. 2013. EM2 quick facts. http://www.ga.com/websites/ga/docs/em2/pdf/FactSheet_QuickFactsEM2.pdf.

3. Choi, H., and R.W. Schleicher. 2011. Design characteristics of the energy multiplier module (EM2). Transactions of the American Nuclear Society 104:929-930.

4. Schleicher, R., and C. Back. 2012. Configuring EM2 to meet the challenges of economics, waste disposition, and nonproliferation confronting nuclear energy in the U.S. Transactions of Fusion Science and Technology 61(1T):144-149.

5. Parmentola, J., and J. Rawls. 2012. Energy Multiplier Module (EM2)—capping the waste problem and using the energy in U-238. Transactions of Fusion Science and Technology 61(1T):9-14.

6. Halfinger, J.A., and M.D. Hagherty. 2012. The B&W mPowerTM scalable practical nuclear reactor design. Nuclear Technology 178(2):164-169.

7. Ingersoll, D. 2011. An overview of the safety case for the small modular reactors. Presented at ASME SMR 2011 Conference, Washington, DC, September 29.

8. World Nuclear Association. 2014. Nuclear power in China. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-AF/China--Nuclear-Power.

9. NucNet. 2013. China begins construction of first generation IV HTR-PM unit. http://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2013/01/07/china-beginsconstruction-of-first-generation-iv-htr-pm-unit.

10. IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). 2013. IAEA update on KLT-40S. http://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/aris/2013/25.KLT40S.pdf.

11. Fadeev, Y. 2011. KLT-40S reactor plant for the floating CNPP FNU. Presented to the IAEA. http://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloads/Technology/meetings/2011-Jul-4-8-ANRT-WS/2_%D0%9ALT40S_VBER_OKBM_Afrikantov_Fadeev.pdf.

12. Colbert, C. 2013. Overview of NuScale design. Presented at Technical Meeting on Technology Assessment of SMRs for Near-Term Deployment, Chengdu, China, September 2-4.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

http://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/Meetings/2013/201309-02-09-04-TM-NPTD/20_usa_colbert_nuscale.pdf.

13. NuScale Power. 2014. NuScale Integral System Test Facilities (NIST). http://www.nuscalepower.com/testfacilities.aspx.

14. Kim, S.H., K.K. Kim, J.W. Yeo, M.H. Chang, and S.Q. Zee. 2013. Design verification program of SMART. Presented at GENES4/ANP2003 Conference, Kyoto, Japan, September 15-19. http://www.uxc.com/smr/Library%5CDesign%20Specific/SMART/Papers/2003%20-%20Design%20Verification%20Program%20of%20SMART.pdf.

15. Seo, J.T. 2013. Small and modular reactor development, safety and licensing in Korea. Presented to the IAEA. http://www.uxc.com/smr/Library/Design%20Specific/SMART/Presentations/2013%20-%20SMR %20Development,%20Safety%20and%20Licensing%20in%20Korea.pdf.

16. World Nuclear Association. 2014. Nuclear power in South Korea. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-OS/South-Korea.

17. Zrodnikov, A.V., G.I. Toshinskya, O.G. Komleva, V.S. Stepanovb, and N.N. Klimovb. 2011. SVBR-100 module-type fast reactor of the IV generation for regional power industry. Journal of Nuclear Materials 415(3):237-244.

18. Zrodnikov, A.V., G.I. Toshinskii, O.G. Grigor’ev, Y.G. Dragunov, V.S. Stepanov, N.N. Klimov, I.I. Kopytov, V.N. Krushel’nitskii, and A.A. Grudakov. 2004. SVBR-75/100 multipurpose modular low power fast reactor with lead bismuth coolant. Atomic Energy 97(2):528-533.

19. IAEA. 2013. Super-safe, small and simple reactor (4S, Toshiba design).https://aris.iaea.org/sites/..%5CPDF%5C4S.pdf.

20. Ishii, K., H. Matsumiya, and N. Handa. 2011. Activities for 4S USNRC licensing. Progress in Nuclear Energy 53(7):831-834.

21. Hirsch, B. 2006. Review of Toshiba 4S sodium-cooled nuclear power reactor proposed for Galena, Alaska. Letter from Union of Concerned Scientists. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/29644438/subjectreview-of-toshiba-4s-sodium-cooled-nuclear-power-reactor.

Category 14: Small modular nuclear reactors

See references for category 13

Category 15: Long-term operation of existing nuclear power plants

See references for category 13

Category 16: Advanced high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technologies

1. EPRI. 2006. Advanced HVDC systems for voltages at +/-800kV and above. EPRI report 1013857. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

Category 17: Reducing electricity use in power systems (production and delivery)

1. EPRI. 2010. The power to reduce CO2 emissions: Transmission system efficiency. EPRI report 1020142. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

2. EPRI. 2011. Program on technology innovation electricity use in the electric-sector opportunities to enhancer electric energy efficiency in the production and delivery of electricity. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 18: Smart-grid technologies (grid modernization)

1. EPRI. 2011. Estimating the costs and benefits of the Smart Grid: A preliminary estimate of the investment requirement and resultant benefits of a fully functioning Smart Grid. EPRI report 1022519. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 19: Increased power flow in transmission systems

1. DOE NREL. 2012. Renewable Energy Futures Study. Washington, DC: DOE NREL.

Category 20: Advanced power electronics—smart-grid-ready inverters for distributed power resources

1. http://www.astrumsolar.com/the-basics/environmental-benefits.

2. EPRI. 2013. Grid impacts of distributed generation with advanced-inverter functions: Hosting capacity of large-scale solar photovoltaic using smart inverters. EPRI report 3002001246. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

3. EPRI. 2014. Distribution management systems and advanced inverters: Autonomous versus integrated PV control. EPRI report 3002003275. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Category 21: Efficient electrical technologies for buildings and industry

1. EPRI. 2012. Electrotechnology reference guide: Revision 4. EPRI report 1025038. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

2. EPRI. 2012. Electrotechnology applications in industrial process heating. EPRI report 1024338. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

3. EPRI. 2009. Assessment of achievable potential from energy efficiency and demand response programs in the U.S. (2010-2030). EPRI report 1016987. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

4. EPRI. 2009. The potential to reduce CO2 emissions by expanding end-use applications of electricity. EPRI report 1018871. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

5. EPRI. 2012. Plug-in electric vehicle adoption and load forecasting. EPRI report 1024103. Palo Alto, CA: EPRI.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Technology Readiness." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21712.
×

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Electricity, supplied reliably and affordably, is foundational to the U.S. economy and is utterly indispensable to modern society. However, emissions resulting from many forms of electricity generation create environmental risks that could have significant negative economic, security, and human health consequences. Large-scale installation of cleaner power generation has been generally hampered because greener technologies are more expensive than the technologies that currently produce most of our power. Rather than trade affordability and reliability for low emissions, is there a way to balance all three?

The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Energy Technologies considers how to speed up innovations that would dramatically improve the performance and lower the cost of currently available technologies while also developing new advanced cleaner energy technologies. According to this report, there is an opportunity for the United States to continue to lead in the pursuit of increasingly clean, more efficient electricity through innovation in advanced technologies. The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Energy Technologies makes the case that America’s advantages—world-class universities and national laboratories, a vibrant private sector, and innovative states, cities, and regions that are free to experiment with a variety of public policy approaches—position the United States to create and lead a new clean energy revolution. This study focuses on five paths to accelerate the market adoption of increasing clean energy and efficiency technologies: (1) expanding the portfolio of cleaner energy technology options; (2) leveraging the advantages of energy efficiency; (3) facilitating the development of increasing clean technologies, including renewables, nuclear, and cleaner fossil; (4) improving the existing technologies, systems, and infrastructure; and (5) leveling the playing field for cleaner energy technologies.

The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Energy Technologies is a call for leadership to transform the United States energy sector in order to both mitigate the risks of greenhouse gas and other pollutants and to spur future economic growth. This study’s focus on science, technology, and economic policy makes it a valuable resource to guide support that produces innovation to meet energy challenges now and for the future.

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