Impact of Clean Energy R&D on the U.S. Power Sector

Trieu Mai, Matthew Mowers, Paul Donohoo-Vallett

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This report explores how additional improvements in cost and performance of clean energy technologies would impact the U.S. power sector generation makeup, total power sector system costs, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. For this exploration, we apply a modeling scenario analysis approach under a range of 'what-if' RDD&D and electricity policy conditions. The analysis does not predict specific technology breakthroughs or the likelihood of achieving the assumed cost reductions, but the scenario results do show the large opportunity space for clean electricity technologies if RDD&D investments are successful. Although it is not surprising that lower technology costs would lead to greater deployment, the analysis demonstrates the possible magnitude of the deployment; clean generation technologies can provide a large majority of U.S. electricity needs while helping lower power system costs and significantly reducing CO2 emissions.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages47
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-67691


  • clean energy
  • electric sector modeling
  • research and development
  • technology innovation


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