199 Items

an operator inspects a photolithography tool used to manufacture these solar cells.

Daniel Derkacs/SolarJunction

Journal Article - Research Policy

Governments as Partners: The Role of Alliances in U.S. Cleantech Startup Innovation

Accelerating innovation in clean energy technologies is a policy priority for governments around the world aiming to mitigate climate change and to provide affordable energy. Most research has focused on the role of governments financing R&D and steering market demand, but there is a more limited understanding of the role of direct government interactions with startups across all sectors. The authors  propose and evaluate the value-creation mechanisms of network resources from different types of partners for startups, highlighting the unique resources of government partners for cleantech startups. 

Solar panels at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory gather sunlight at the test facility

AP/Jack Dempsey

Journal Article - MRS Energy & Sustainability

Nurturing Transformative U.S. Energy Research: Two Guiding Principles

The authors raise for debate and discussion what in their opinion is a growing mis-control and mis-protection of U.S. energy research. They outline the origin of this mis-control and mis-protection, and propose two guiding principles to mitigate them and instead nurture research: (1) focus on people, not projects; and (2) culturally insulate research from development, but not science from technology.

newer design of a nuclear reactor

DOE/Advanced Reactor Technology

Journal Article - Nature Energy

A Tortoise Approach for US Nuclear Research and Development

| July 30, 2018

In Aesop's fable, a swift hare races with a deliberate tortoise. In the end, the tortoise wins by taking a slow and steady approach. The authors argue that, given the economic constraints on US deployment of nuclear power, a "tortoise strategy" is more prudent for US government nuclear R&D efforts.

 Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Journal Article - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

US Nuclear Power: The Vanishing Low-carbon Wedge

  • M. Granger Morgan
  • Ahmed Abdulla
  • Michael Rath
| July 10, 2018

Nuclear power holds the potential to make a significant contribution to decarbonizing the US energy system. Whether it could do so in its current form is a critical question: Existing large light water reactors in the United States are under economic pressure from low natural gas prices, and some have already closed. Moreover, because of their great cost and complexity, it appears most unlikely that any new large plants will be built over the next several decades. While advanced reactor designs are sometimes held up as a potential solution to nuclear power's challenges, the authors' assessment of the advanced fission enterprise suggests that no US design will be commercialized before midcentury. That leaves factory-manufactured, light water small modular reactors (SMRs) as the only option that might be deployed at significant scale in the climate-critical period of the next several decades.

Dr. Arun Majumdar

DOE/Ken Shipp

Journal Article - Research Policy

Simultaneous Pursuit of Discovery and Invention in the US Department of Energy

There is a sharp boundary between basic and applied research in the organizational structure of the US Department of Energy (DOE). In this work, the authors consider a branch of DOE that was designed to operate across this boundary: the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E). They hypothesize that much of energy research cannot be neatly categorized as basic or applied and is more productive outside of the confines of the basic/applied dichotomy; ARPA-E provides an opportunity to test that hypothesis.

Windmills on shore


Journal Article - Oxford Energy Forum

U.S. Energy Diplomacy in an Age of Energy Abundance

| November 2017

For decades, fears of energy scarcity drove American energy diplomacy. The dependence of the global economy on oil, and America’s need to secure ever-growing quantities of this commodity, underpinned complex networks of alliances and intensive diplomatic endeavors. An atmosphere of ever-increasing global competition for resources made these labors all the more urgent and highstakes. Today, in an age of energy abundance, many anticipate that the new US energy prowess will render such efforts obsolete and pave the way for US disengagement in the world. Yet a sober look at reality suggests that this should be far from the case.

research web line in a hydrogen materials lab

Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Journal Article - Nature Energy

Rescue US Energy Innovation

President Trump has proposed severe cuts to US government spending on energy research, development and demonstration, but Congress has the 'power of the purse' and can rescue US energy innovation. If serious cuts are enacted, the pace of innovation will slow, harming the economy, energy security and global environmental quality.

Journal Article - Nature Energy

Political Economy of Clinton's Ambitious Energy Program

| October 2016

"Hillary Clinton's campaign has stressed her continuity with Obama's energy policy on key aspects such as decarbonization of the US economy, technological innovation and global cooperation. However, policy reforms to deliver long-term climate goals might be out of reach in a highly divided Congress."

Scientists at DOE's Sandia National Labs.

Sandia Labs/DOE

Journal Article - Nature Energy

The Pressing Energy Innovation Challenge of the US National Laboratories

Accelerating the development and deployment of energy technologies is a pressing challenge. Doing so will require policy reform that improves the efficacy of public research organizations and strengthens the links between public and private innovators. With their US$14 billion annual budget and unique mandates, the US National Laboratories have the potential to critically advance energy innovation, yet reviews of their performance find several areas of weak organizational design. This article discusses the challenges the National Laboratories face in engaging the private sector, increasing their contributions to transformative research, and developing culture and management practices to better support innovation. The authors also offer recommendations for how policymakers can address these challenges.