Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution
336 pp., 5 x 8 in, 4 tables
- Published: January 13, 2012
- Published: March 20, 2009
- Published: January 13, 2012
An argument for a major federal program to stimulate innovation in energy technology and a proposal for a policy approach to implement it.
America is addicted to fossil fuels, and the environmental and geopolitical costs are mounting. A public-private program—at an expanded scale—to stimulate innovation in energy policy seems essential. In Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution, Charles Weiss and William Bonvillian make the case for just such a program. Their proposal backs measures to stimulate private investment in new technology, within a revamped energy innovation system. It would encourage a broad range of innovations that would give policymakers a variety of technological options over the long implementation period and at the huge scale required, faster than could be accomplished by market forces alone. Even if the nation can't make progress at this time on pricing carbon, a technology strategy remains critical and can go ahead now.
Strong leadership and public support will be needed to resist the pressure of entrenched interests against putting new technology pathways into practice in the complex and established energy sector. This book has helped start the process.
For a variety of reasons: geologic, geographic, geopolitical, and environmental—an energy transformation is already underway, but it will take massive investments, technological breakthroughs and thoughtful management as the transition proceeds. As the new Administration (and world leaders) grapple with the dual challenges of energy security and climate change, technology, timing, and scalable delivery systems will be key components in any solution. Weiss and Bonvillian lay out a comprehensive roadmap for guiding policymakers through somewhat uncharted terrain by identifying pathways to successful development and deployment of innovative technologies and make a persuasive case for global cooperative efforts. This is a must-read for sustainable energy futurists!
Frank Verrastro, Director and Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
This extraordinary book by Charles Weiss and William Bonvillian offers a four-step framework for analysis and action to meet America's need for secure, sustainable, and affordable clean energy. The most technologically advanced and innovative nation on the planet has seemed unable to meet this need because our traditional innovation processes are inadequate. Generating, distributing, and using energy in 21st century America, because of its scale, complexity, and in-place infrastructure, is totally unlike the narrow goals of the oft-cited Apollo or Manhattan Projects. Furthermore, the multitude of technologies and the potential for unpredictable breakthroughs rules out a classical technology roadmap. Weiss and Bonvillian combine experience, analysis, and realpolitik to present a roadmap not for energy technology itself, but for the public-private process to fund, produce, and insert energy innovations into the economy.
Charles M. Vest, President, National Academy of Engineering, President Emeritus, MIT
Funding provided by: Author