Department of Energy Releases Quadrennial Technology Review

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Publication date: 
18 September 2015

"The QTR makes clear that we have the technological know-how and innovative spirit to move to a low-carbon economy.  It’s up to us to carry these opportunities through and make them a reality” said Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren last week when releasing the 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review.

This is the second QTR issued by the Department of Energy.  It is a massive document of more than 500 pages, building on the first QTR issued in 2011 following a recommendation from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for periodic technology reviews by DOE.  This Review focuses on clean energy technologies and is described as a blueprint for the federal government and the public and private sectors.  The Executive Summary states:

“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. Policies and regulations are examined separately by the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER).”

Michael Knotek, Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Energy led the team producing the Review that drew on hundreds of reports and studies, and hundreds of workshops pertaining to specific technologies and to the development of the document.  DOE’s seventeen national laboratories contributed to the Review, with “particularly important contributions” from Argonne, Berkeley, Brookhaven, Livermore, and Pacific Northwest laboratories.   In describing the Review, Knotek explained “The analysis contained in these pages supports the technology component of a much broader national strategy to evolve our energy system, improving its security, resilience, economic impacts, and environmental responsibility along the way.”

The comprehensive scope of the Review is indicated by its eleven chapters ranging in length from 24 to 58 pages with the following headings: energy challenges, energy sectors and systems, enabling modernization of the electric power system, advancing clean electric power technologies, increasing efficiency of building systems and technologies, innovating clean energy technologies in advanced manufacturing, advancing systems and technologies to produce cleaner fuels, advancing clean transportation and vehicle systems and technologies, enabling capabilities for science and energy, concepts in integrated analysis, and summary and conclusions.  Fifty technology assessments are in development that will accompany the Review, and will be available at this site

In an introductory message in the Review, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz commented: “We are convinced that energy science and technology hold the key to meeting these challenges through technology, business model, and policy innovation. As such, the QTR, together with the ongoing Quadrennial Energy Review, will do much to inform DOE’s efforts and contributions for years to come. We hope it will be similarly useful to the energy community at large.”