Accelerated Development of New Energy-Related Technology
Private and public investment in U.S. energy R&D, while greater than the efforts of other developed nations, is paltry compared to R&D investments made in other sectors of the economy.
From its historical peak of approximately $6 billion in 1978, Department of Energy spending on research in renewable, fossil and nuclear energy fell to $1.4 billion in 2008. Meanwhile, investments in energy R&D by U.S. companies fell by 50 percent between 1991 and 2003.
Temporary, deployment-focused increases passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 must be extended and accompanied by significant structural and programmatic reforms. New institutions and new tools will certainly be needed. Most important, a new sense of mission and purpose must be cultivated, using a goal-oriented approach within relevant federal agencies, national laboratories, universities, and the private sector.