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By Rebecca Kern
Nov. 13 — Wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles and LED light bulbs are four “transformational” clean energy technologies helping the U.S. grow its low-carbon economy and combat climate change, the Energy Department said in a report.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz discussed the report at a Nov. 13 event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. Moniz also highlighted some of the department's goals for the Nov. 17-18 International Energy Agency's ministerial meeting in Paris, which he will chair, and the United Nations climate negotiations that begin in Paris Nov. 30.
Moniz said the Energy Department's approach going into both the energy ministerial and climate negotiations “is going to be very technology focused.”
“We are advancing the theme that energy technology innovation and the resultant continued cost reductions of clean energy technologies are ultimately key to meeting our challenges in climate change,” Moniz said. “Lower cost clean energy solutions enable policy to move forward more quickly.”
The report, which is an update to a previous version in 2013, describes a dramatic reduction in costs that the government said is driving the widescale adoption of the four energy technologies in the U.S.
In particular, the report said that land-based wind technology accounted for 31 percent of new generation capacity added in the U.S. from 2008 to 2014. As of 2014, there were more than 65,000 megawatts of utility-scale wind deployed across 39 states, providing 4.4 percent of the total U.S. electricity generation.
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Also, the report said that large scale-utility photovoltaic installations reached 9.7 gigawatts by 2014. Moniz said the cost of utility-scale solar fell by 60 percent from 2008 to 2014.
Additionally, the report highlights the dramatic cost reductions of light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs, which experienced the greatest drop in prices from 2008 to 2014 of all four technologies. LED bulbs have gone from very small deployments to nearly 80 million deployed across the U.S., Moniz said.
Lastly, the report describes the cost reductions in electric vehicles, with nearly 300,000 of them on U.S. roads by the end 2014.
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The report also highlighted three technologies that are on the verge of wider deployment and cost reduction in the coming years: smart building systems, fuel-efficient freight trucks and vehicle lightweighting (or building lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles.)
The report said these three technologies will continue to drop in price and increase in adoption over the next five years to 10 years in the U.S.
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The Energy Department clean energy technology report is available at http://src.bna.com/3s.
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