Energy Technology Innovation Policy
By Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Valentina Bosetti, Gabe Chan, Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Gregory Nemet, Former Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, January–June 2011 and Elena Verdolini
Characterizing the future performance of energy technologies can improve the development of energy policies that have net benefits under a broad set of future conditions. In particular, decisions about public investments in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that promote technological change can benefit from (1) an explicit consideration of the uncertainty inherent in the innovation process and (2) a systematic evaluation of the tradeoffs in investment allocations across different technologies. To shed light on these questions, over the past five years several groups in the United States and Europe have conducted expert elicitations and modeled the resulting societal benefits. In this paper, the authors discuss the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these initiatives.
"The Next Frontier in United States Unconventional Shale Gas and Tight Oil Extraction: Strategic Reduction of Environmental Impact"
By Meagan Mauter, Former Visiting Scholar, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group (ETIP), 2012–2013; Former Research Fellow, ETIP, 2011–2012, Vanessa R. Palmer, Yiqiao Tang and A. Patrick Behrer
The unconventional fossil fuel extraction industry—in the U.S., primarily shale gas and tight oil—is expected to continue expanding dramatically in coming decades as conventionally recoverable reserves wane. At the global scale, a long-term domestic supply of natural gas is expected to yield environmental benefits over alternative sources of fossil energy. At the local level, however, the environmental impacts of shale gas and tight oil development may be significant. The development of technology, management practices, and regulatory policies that mitigate the associated environmental impacts of shale gas development is quickly becoming the next frontier in U.S. unconventional fossil resource extraction.
For the past forty years, United States Presidents have repeatedly called for a reduction in the country's dependence on fossil fuels in general and foreign oil specifically. Some officials advocate the electrification of the passenger vehicle fleet as a path to meeting this goal. The Obama administration has embraced a goal of having one million electric-powered vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015, while others proposed a medium-term goal where electric vehicles would consist of 20% of the passenger vehicle fleet by 2030 — approximately 30 million electric vehicles. The technology itself is not in question; many of the global automobile companies are planning to sell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and/or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2012. The key question is, will Americans buy them?
This study examines the legal, regulatory and financial issues encountered in nine planned commercial-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects under Phase III of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP) Program. In Phase III of the RCSP, financial issues dominated the outcomes in these projects, directly causing termination of three of the projects and contributing to termination in two others. Long-term liability and lack of coordination among regulatory authorities also posed significant barriers.
By C. Edward Huang, Former Research Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2010
One question about the 2009 U.S. "Cash for Clunkers" program is whether it induced consumers to purchase greener vehicles than they would otherwise have purchased. This paper views the program as a natural experiment, which offered higher rebates to consumers buying more fuel-efficient vehicles, and shows that awarding an extra $1,000 on a vehicle made 7.2% of consumers switch. Hence the program - giving away nearly $3 billion - should have drawn many consumers to the subsidized greener vehicles, producing substantial environmental gains. This finding should interest policymakers evaluating similar programs to stimulate the economy while benefiting the environment.
"Governmental Energy Innovation Investments, Policies and Institutions in the Major Emerging Economies: Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa"
By Ruud Kempener, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2011, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Jose Condor Tarco, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2008–2009
Over the past decade, countries with emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa have become important global players in political and economic domains. In 2007, these six countries consumed and produced more than a third of the world's energy and emitted about 35 percent of total greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The changing global energy landscape has important implications for energy technology innovation (ETI) nationally and internationally. However, there is limited information available about the investments and initiatives that are taking place by the national governments within these countries. This paper presents the information available on energy RD&D investments in the emerging economies.
By Erik Mielke, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2010–2011, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy; Professor of Physics, Harvard; Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-Principal Investigator, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
This paper provides an overview of water consumption for different sources of energy, including extraction, processing, and conversion of resources, fuels, and technologies. The primary focus of this paper is to summarize the consumptive use of water for different sources of energy. Where appropriate, levels of water withdrawals are also discussed, especially in the context of cooling of thermoelectric power plants.
By Mohammed Al-Juaied, Former Visiting Scholar, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2008–2009
This paper looks at ten different forms of public support for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies including investment tax credits, accelerated depreciation, production tax credits, loan guarantees, capital grants, allowance allocations, and storage tax credits. The paper compares the cost reduction potential of each option against a conventional coal-to-electricity facility without CCS.
By Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Jose Gomez-Ibanez, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning; Faculty Affiliate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, C. Edward Huang, Former Research Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2010 and Grant Lovellette
The report is a summary of the discussions from a workshop on "Transportation Revenue Options" convened by the Belfer Center in May 2010. The workshop brought together 27 transportation experts for a two-day workshop to discuss three broad revenue-generating options: higher fuel taxes — perhaps supplemented by a carbon tax; fees collected based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT); and congestion fees on major roadways.
By Balachandra Patil, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2010
India's energy crisis is defined by the fact that the major share of its rural population is energy poor. Energy poverty, indicated by the lack of access to modern energy services, is a direct outcome of income poverty. The poor cannot afford to pay for the services of the modern energy carriers and they live in sub-standard buildings/houses, which are unfit to be connected to the modern energy systems. Similarly, any poor nation will be constrained by inadequate access to both energy and financial resources, and therefore will be unable to build an adequate infrastructure that would facilitate connectivity to modern energy carriers.