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Renewable Power Pathways: A Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Programs
for attracting private sector capital for energy generation for economic development, as well as for addressing public-good issues globally. The energy technologies and infrastructures developed over the next few decades will have a strong impact on energy costs and end-use efficiencies, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and a range of other factors for most of the next century. The globalization of innovation capacities and tightening constraints on spending for domestic R&D contribute to the attractiveness of international cooperation for developing energy technologies. International cooperation would also enhance the ability of U.S. energy companies to enter some of the largest markets for these new technologies. Energy-related global environmental problems and risks could also be lessened. The panel made the following observations related to energy R&D:
Accelerated innovation in energy technology can increase the pace and decrease the cost of the adoption of technologies that can improve the health and safety of the environment.
Innovations in energy are necessary to lower the energy intensity of economic activity, reduce emissions from energy activities, reduce the costs of delivering energy in environmentally sustainable ways, and increase energy options.
The panel cited the following reasons for U.S. participation in international energy projects:
The pace would be increased and the cost lowered of U.S. acquisition of innovations for domestic use.
U.S. firms would gain access to large overseas markets for innovative energy technologies.
The global dimensions of energy challenges would be addressed by accelerated development and deployment of innovations worldwide.
Continued government involvement in energy innovations would serve many needs that transcend private interests (e.g., social, macroeconomic, environmental, and international security concerns). Therefore, the panel recommended that government initiatives be structured to encourage, catalyze, and complement, rather than replace, corresponding activities in the private sector.
Specific opportunities for cooperation identified in the study were initiatives for the development of renewable energy technologies and fossil fuel decarbonization. The panel recommended that a broad-based renewable energy cluster organization be established to accelerate the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies, especially to meet energy needs in rural areas of the developing world. The establishment of a fossil-fuel decarbonization and carbon sequestration cluster was recommended as a multinational collaborative effort to develop technologies that would use fossil fuels economically in ways