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Renewing Our Energy Future

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Renewing Our Energy Future September 1995 OTA-ETI-614 GPO stock #052-003-01427-1 Recommended Citation: U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Renewing Our Energy Fulture,OTA-ETI-614 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, September 1995). For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328 ISBN 0-16 -048237-2 Foreword arious forms of renewable energy could become important contributors to the U.S. energy
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   Renewing Our Energy Future September 1995 OTA-ETI-614GPO stock #052-003-01427-1  Recommended Citation: U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment,  Renewing Our   Energy Fulture,OTA-ETI-614 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, September 1995). For sale by the U.S. Government Printing OfficeSuperintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328 ISBN 0-16 -048237-2  F oreword arious forms of renewable energy could become important con-tributors to the U.S. energy system early in the next century. If  that happens, the United States will enjoy major economic, envi- ronmental, and national security benefits. However, expeditingprogress will require expanding research, development, and commer- cialization programs. If budget constraints mandate cuts in programs forrenewable energy, some progress can still be made if efforts are focusedon the most productive areas.This study evaluates the potential for cost-effective renewable energyin the coming decades and the actions that have to be taken to achieve thepotential. Some applications, especially wind and bioenergy, are already competitive with conventional technologies. Others, such as photovol- taics, have great promise, but will require significant research and devel- opment to achieve cost-competitiveness. Implementing renewableenergy will be also require attention to a variety of factors that inhibit potential users.This study was requested by the House Committee on Science and its Subcommittee on Energy and Environment; Senator Charles E. Grass-ley; two Subcommittees of the House Committee on Agriculture—De-partment Operations, Nutrition and Foreign Agriculture and ResourceConservation, Research and Forestry; and the House Subcommittee onEnergy and Environment of the Committee on Appropriations.OTA appreciates the invaluable advice and assistance of the manypeople who contributed tocontractors. and reviewers.this project, including the advisory panel,ROGER C. HERDMAN Director .   .   Ill  A dvisory Panel Robert W. Fri Chairman PresidentResources for the Future Jim Batchelor Vice President, Technical ServicesSF Services, Inc. Art Brooks PresidentSun Earth, Inc. Edward J. Carlough General PresidentSheet Metal WorkersInternational Association John Corsi Solarex J. Michael Davis Director, Sales and MarketingGolden Technologies Co., Inc. David Dawson Forest Policy Consultant Elizabeth Paine Hughes CommissionerState of Maine W. Densmore Hunter Department Manager,Process R&DWeyerhauser Co. Renz D. Jennings CommissionerArizona Corporation Commission David Kearney PresidentKeamey and Associates John Kennedy Product General ManagerSpace Systems and AdvancedApplicationsAllied-Signal Aerospace Alden Meyer Director, Climate Change andEnergy ProgramUnion of Concerned Scientists Roberta Nichols Manager, Electric VehicleStrategy and PlanningCar Product DevelopmentFord Motor Co. Mike Nicklas PresidentInnovative Design Dale Osborn Vice President Kenetec/U.S. Windpower, Inc. Bruce Pasternack Senior Vice PresidentBooz Allen and Hamilton Maria Richter PrincipalMorgan Stanley & Co., Inc. Victor Shaio PresidentNew Energy Corporation of Indiana Scott Sklar Executive Director Solar Energy IndustriesAssociation Carl Weinberg Weinberg Associates Robert H. Williams Senior Research ScientistCenter for Energy andEnvironmental StudiesPrinceton University Kurt E. Yeager Senior Vice President,Technical OperationsElectric Power Research Institute INVITED OBSERVERSRobert San Martin Deputy Assistant SecretaryOffice of Utility TechnologiesU.S. Department of Energy William G. Rosenberg Assistant AdministratorOffice of Air and RadiationU.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency Thomas D. Bath Director, Analytic Studies Division National Renewable EnergyLaboratory Note: OTA appreciates and is grateful for the valuable assistance and thoughtful critiques provided by the advisory panel members.The panel does not, however, necessarily approve, disapprove, or endorse this report. OTA assumes full responsibility for the reportand the accuracy of its contents. iv
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