Some of these barriers can be overcome with the right market and regulatory signals.

  • Uncertainties arising from the nature and timing of public policies and regulations related to carbon controls. There is no authoritative guidance on best available technologies for CCS that could be used to guide deployment. Such guidance might be similar to New Source Performance Standards developed under the Clean Air Act for criteria pollutants. The initial rates of deployment of reduced-carbon technologies (energy efficiency, renewable-energy sources, nuclear energy, and coal with CCS) can be accelerated by such guidelines, by a better alignment of incentives, and by some selected direct public investments.

  • Coupling the commercial deployment of energy-supply technologies with key supporting technologies. Examples include CCS both for electric-power generation and the production of transportation fuels; adequate dispatchable energy supplies or storage20 for advanced and expanded transmission and distribution systems; and advanced batteries for plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. Successful demonstration of the key supporting technologies will clearly be required, but so too will a better alignment of incentives and the resolution of a number of economic, legal, and policy questions.

  • The regional ownership and regulation of the transmission and distribution systems in the United States make it difficult to implement nation-wide modernizations. Although there are exceptions in some regions, the current regulatory system is not designed to adopt available and future innovations in the national transmission system because of fractured jurisdictions at the local, regional, and national levels, as well as an institutional culture that emphasizes quantity of service over reliability, quality, efficiency, and security. Additionally, the methods for assessing returns on private investment in the transmission system are unclear because, owing to the dispersed nature of electricity transmission, reliability and societal benefits extend beyond a single region.

  • The lack of energy efficiency standards for many products means that in many cases individual consumers must take the initiative to acquire


Dispatchable energy storage is a set of technologies for storing or producing electricity that can be deployed quickly (dispatched) into the grid when other power sources become unavailable. These technologies are described in Chapter 9.

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