This is the overview from the 500-plus page report:
America is in the midst of an energy revolution. Over the last decade, the United States has slashed net petroleum imports, significantly increased shale gas production, scaled up wind and solar power, and cut the growth in electricity consumption to nearly zero through widespread efficiency measures. Emerging advanced energy technologies provide a rich set of options to address our energy challenges, but their large scale deployment requires continued improvements in cost and performance. Technology is helping to drive this revolution, enabled by years to decades of research and development (R&D) that underpin these advances in the energy system.
The energy revolution underway creates additional opportunities for technologies and systems with superior performance and reduced costs. The convergence of many energy sectors—such as the electric grid, electricity production, buildings, manufacturing, fuels, and transportation—into systems linked through information and communications technologies (ICT), advanced modeling and simulation, and controls, has the potential to revolutionize energy services throughout the economy at the component, device, and system levels. The QTR also identifies enabling science opportunities and cross-cutting technologies and disciplines that may impact multiple sectors. These advances can enable the United States to address pressing national energy challenges—security, economic vitality, and climate change.
The 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR) examines the status of the science and technology that are the foundation of our energy system, together with the research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) opportunities to advance them. It focuses primarily on technologies with commercialization potential in the midterm and beyond. It frames various trade-offs that all energy technologies must balance across such dimensions as cost, security and reliability of supply, diversity, environmental impacts, land use, and materials use. Additionally, it provides data and analysis on RDD&D pathways to assist decision makers as they set priorities, within budget constraints, to develop more secure, affordable, and sustainable energy services.
QTR 2015 complements the work of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focuses on energy infrastructure and government-wide energy policy. Insights gained from these analyses provide important information for stakeholders and decision-makers in government, industry, academia, and civil society who together form our national energy enterprise.
For the full report:
Writer/Editor, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Creating the foundations of our nation’s energy future is a complex task. To develop a strategy, you need to know where we are today and what’s been happening over the last several years. The Energy Department has that covered in the 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR 2015) takes a look at the past four years in energy… and has some surprising things to say.
For one thing, electricity generated from solar photovoltaic cells has increased tenfold, while wind power has nearly doubled. We are seeing increased diversification of energy sources, with biofuels and natural gas augmenting petroleum for vehicle use. Building technologies have been tested in prototype homes and found to deliver tremendous energy savings, and advances in clean manufacturing promise a revolution in American industry.
QTR 2015 builds upon the foundation established by QTR 2011, which summarized DOE’s work in research, development, demonstration and deployment (RDD&D) and evaluated the influence of government policy and our existing energy infrastructure. Periodic reviews are vital in ensuring that we’re meeting milestones and making progress toward our goals of providing clean, sustainable, affordable energy to American homes and businesses. The first QTR defined a framework for understanding and discussing energy challenges, established a set of priorities for the Department, and explained to stakeholders the roles of DOE and the national laboratories, the broader government, the private sector, academia, and innovation in energy transformation. The new QTR explores how things have evolved over the past four years, taking on challenges and setting new, even more ambitious goals using a systems management approach.
And that last part is important. One of the most important features of QTR 2015 is that we have taken a systems analysis approach to establish where we’ve been and need to go. The report suggests directions RDD&D should take in the next decade to be able to fully develop the potential of the technologies we reviewed and report on in the QTR. In that way, we reinforce how analysis helps shape policy recommendations and builds a foundation for tomorrow’s world of energy.
How does this make a difference for American homes and businesses? Well, just as you would not set out to build a home without a blueprint and inspections along the way, an all-encompassing energy strategy must address where we are right now—how we got here over the past four years, especially—and where we want to be four years (and more) from now. It helps us focus on what’s working in the system and what could work with the right approach. It gives us insight into what we did right and what we could do better, and what we want to do next.
You can read the whole QTR here. You’ll find it’s a document full of analysis, evaluation and honest reporting on the world of American energy production, generation and use. It’s a necessary building block for the strategic systems thinking that will shape our energy future, bridging where we’ve been to where we’ll be. And that will make a very big difference to all of us.
Filed Under: News, Policy