Chapter 4: The Potential Impact of Renewable Energy Technologies to Reduce Carbon Emissions

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The potential of renewable enegy technologies to reduce carbon emissions has been the subject of intense debate. This paper summarizes three studies in which the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, sponsored by the Department of Energy, has played a major role. Technology Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (1997) concluded that renewable energy technologies (including biomasselectric, wind energy, advanced hydropower, solar photovoltaics, geothermal energy, solar thermal electric and buildings, biomass transportation fuels, and solar advanced photoconversion) could reduce carbon emissions in 2020-2030 by 135-260 million metric tons of carbon equivalent/year (MMtC/yr) through technology advances alone. In its work on Carbon Emissions Reduction Supply Curve Analysis,NREL developed information on the cost of reducing U.S. carbon emissions through the use of renewable energy. This quantitative analytical study of selected renewable energy technologies concluded that as much as 165 MMtC/yr could be reduced at no extra cost in 2020, while as much as 200 MMtC/yr could be reduced at little (less than $50/tonne of carbon) energy cost. The last study describes aproject just beginning in progress on developing scenarios for potential policy options related to renewable energy technologies in the future.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Title of host publicationAdvances in Solar Energy: An Annual Review of Research and Development, Vol. 13
    EditorsD. Y. Goswami, K. W. Boer
    StatePublished - 1999

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/CH-200-25766


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