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Government's crucial role in alternative energy
#1
Quote:New DOE report details latest advances in solar, wind, LED lights, batteries, and electric cars

[Image: 1*0jfpSGJVgvCYmF7ygm24bQ.jpeg]
CREDIT: Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released the 2016 update of its report, Revolution…Now: The Future Arrives for Five Clean Energy Technologies.
The must-read report reveals the game-changing progress core clean energy technologies have made over the last several years — specifically, solar, wind, LED lights, batteries, and electric cars. Accelerated deployment driven by smart government policies, both domestically and around the world, have created economies of scale and brought technologies down the learning curve faster than almost anyone expected.
Chart of the year: ‘Incredible’ price drops jumpstart clean energy revolution

Yes, smart government policies. Without a myriad of subsidies for R&D and use, would there have been a clean energy revolution? Could companies have reaped the large economies of scale and learning if adoption of alternative energy would have had to rely on the market without any help, and without facing a level playing field as competing against fossil fuel that is heavily subsidized and can externalize part of its cost to society as a whole?
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#2
But this is about to change pretty drastically

Quote:The cuts would defang EPA climate efforts, halt ARPA-E’s clean-energy investments, and stop contributions to UN climate-change programs

The budget proposes to cut funding for the Department of Energy by 5.6 percent, to $28 billion. To achieve that, it would, as feared, completely shutter the activities of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which currently invests in clean-energy moonshots. It would also rein in programs where the department works with industry to commercialize its own research, and instead have it focus on basic science.
Trump’s Budget Would Mean Catastrophe for U.S. Climate Programs - MIT Technology Review
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#3
Quote:Now, driven by smart government policies  — including a massive push by China and a big bet by President Obama’s Department of Energy (DOE) on a once-obscure Silicon Valley start-up named Tesla  — rapid drops in battery cost have brought us to this revolution, as this 2016 BNEF chart shows:

   

The result is that “a price and energy cost analysis of conventional, hybrid, and electric vehicles illustrates that the EV has the lowest lifetime cost, even in a low-oil-price environment,” as the author of a GTM Research report on EVs explained last year.
Would you buy a 500-mile range electric car that charges in one minute? – ThinkProgress
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#4
Quote:The authors are MIT associate professor Jessika Trancik, postdoc Goksin Kavlak, and research scientist James McNerney. They are part of a team that, working with the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program, is attempting to develop an overarching theory of technology innovation, using solar PV as its focus. Evaluating the Causes of Photovoltaics Cost Reduction” lays out the results — what caused PV costs to decline so fast, and when.

The details are worth examining, but the big lesson is pretty simple: It didn’t just happen. It was driven, at every stage, by smart public policySolar PV has gotten cheaper at a positively ridiculous rate
First, by way of background, it’s important to wrap your head around the remarkable evolution of solar PV. Again, solar module costs have dropped by around 99 percent over the past 40 years..
Solar panels now cost less. Thank government policy. - Vox
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