Leverage American Innovation
Innovation and creating jobs is just part of who we are. And thanks to innovation, America has reduced its emissions by more than any other country in the last 20 years. We did this through new American technology, research at the Department of Energy, and strong bipartisan support.
We need to double down and get more American innovations to market.
A tokamak thermal nuclear fusion reactor
Why is innovation so important?
Innovation is about making clean energy cheaper. If two technologies are the same price and one is cleaner, utilities and industries worldwide will buy the cleaner alternative. The market for clean energy is a trillion dollar (annual) opportunity.
Under Modest Policy Ambition, Breakthrough Innovations Can Drive Significant Additional Reductions in Cumulative Carbon Emissions by 2050
Source: Unlocking Deep Decarbonization: An Innovation Impact Assessment (EDF & EER, 2022). Cumulative CO2 Emissions between 2020 and 2050 were assessed for the U.S. energy system across several policy and technology R&D scenarios.
Investing in innovation pays off. All major advances in new energy technology, from oil to nuclear energy to renewables, had serious government support in their early stages – even the fracking revolution that caused the gas boom. All of these have led to American energy independence. Early stage government support launched a $100 billion annual market. Not a bad return.
There are many parts of our energy and industrial system where we don’t yet have a cheaper clean alternative – much MORE innovation is needed.
Challenge: Maintaining U.S. leadership and competitiveness in innovation requires a robust and holistic approach.
Solution: Investments in research and development, domestic supply chains, and cross-cutting solutions like hydrogen and carbon capture are essential to cost-competitive decarbonization.
Challenge: Heavy industries like steel, cement, and chemicals are established industries; replacing or retrofitting infrastructure and processes may be costly.
Solution: The market-based program we’ve seen in power sector decarbonization should be transposed to heavy industry to drive the commercialization of various industrial innovation solutions.
Challenge: Bringing nascent technologies to market can be risky and capital-intensive: deterring private sector investors. Competitors like China publicly finance most of their energy innovation.
Solution: The bipartisan infrastructure law bridges the gap between innovation and deployment, with Republican leadership playing an instrumental role in launching the billion-dollar demonstration programs for carbon capture, battery storage, and advanced nuclear.
U.S. Carbon Capture Projects in Development