Task Statement for AEF Panel on Electricity from Renewable Resources
This panel will examine the technical potential for electric power generation with alternative sources such as wind, solar-photovoltaic, geothermal, solar-thermal, hydroelectric, and other renewable resources. The panel will also consider the broader energy applications of renewables, especially low-temperature solar applications that may reduce electricity demands. The panel will evaluate technologies based on their estimated times to initial commercial deployment and will provide the following information for each:
Initial deployment times <10 years: costs, performance, and impacts
10 to 25 years: barriers, implications for costs, and R&D challenges/needs
>25 years: barriers and R&D challenges/needs, especially basic research needs.
The primary focus of the study will be on the quantitative characterization of technologies with initial deployment times <10 years. The panel will focus on those renewable resources that show the most promise for initial commercial development within a decade leading to substantial impact on the U.S. energy system, as well as consider the potential use of such technologies globally. In keeping with the charge to the overall scope of the America’s Energy Future Study Committee, the panel will not recommend policy choices, but it will assess the state of development of technologies. In addition to a principal focus on renewable energy technologies for power generation, the panel will address the challenges of incorporating such technologies into the power grid, as well as the potential of improvements in the national electricity grid that could enable better and more extensive use of wind, solar-thermal, solar photovoltaics, and other renewable technologies.