Publications on Alternative and Renewable Energy
Identifying Key Drivers of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Biomass Feedstocks for Energy Production — 2013
Many policies in the United States, at both the federal and state levels, encourage the adoption of renewable energy from biomass.
Scenario Uncertainties in Estimating Direct Land-Use Change Emissions in Biomass-To-Energy Life Cycle Assessment — 2012
The use of biomass for energy production has increasingly been encouraged in the United States, in part motivated by the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to fossil fuels.
The Value of CCS Public Opinion Research: A Letter in Response to Malone Dooley and Bradbury (2010) "Moving from Misinformation Derived from Public Attitude Surveys on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Towards Realistic Stakeholder Involvement" — 2012
The authors discuss the merit of conducting research with both members of the general public and with populations living near proposed carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) sites.
Testimony presented before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power on June 3, 2011.
The Economic Costs of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under a U.S. National Renewable Electricity Mandate — 2011
The authors perform a technical and economic assessment and estimate the economic costs and net GHG reductions from U.S renewable electricity mandates. GHG emissions reductions from such policies could be as much as 670 million metric tons per year. Depending on technological development, economic costs are $13-$45 billion per year. Lower costs depend on favorable technological progress.
Near-Term Opportunities for Integrating Biomass into the U.S. Electricity Supply: Technical Considerations — 2011
Biomass is an increasingly important source of electricity, heat, and liquid fuel. One near-term option for using biomass to generate electricity is to cofire biomass in coal-fired electricity plants. This report focuses on two aspects of biomass use: plant-site modifications, changes in operations, and costs associated with cofiring biomass; and the logistical issues associated with delivering biomass to the plant.
Testimony presented before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power on May 5, 2011.
Recommended Research Priorities for the Qatar Foundation's Environment and Energy Research Institute — 2011
The Qatar Foundation is establishing a national research institute to conduct and collaborate on applied research in energy, environment, and water issues, the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute. This book recommends research priorities for the new institution and reports on a survey of relevant research institutions in the region.
Supplying Biomass to Power Plants: A Model of the Costs of Utilizing Agricultural Biomass in Cofired Power Plants — 2011
U.S. power plants seek to diversify their fuel sources. Biomass energy is a renewable resource, generally with lower life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions than fossil fuels. Prospective users need information about infrastructure, logistics, costs, and constraints for the full biomass life cycle. This model estimates the cost and availability of biomass energy resources from U.S. agricultural lands from the perspective of an individual power plant.
Document submitted on June 29, 2011 as an addendum to testimony presented before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 7, 2011.
Testimony presented before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 7, 2011.
Informed Public Preferences for Electricity Portfolios with CCS and Other Low-Carbon Technologies — 2010
Public perceptions of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and other low-carbon electricity-generating technologies may affect the feasibility of their widespread deployment.
The Global Technology Revolution China, Executive Summary: Emerging Technology Opportunities for the Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA) and the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) — 2009
China's Tianjin Binhai New Area and the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area commissioned a technology-foresight study to help plan for economic growth. The authors recommend seven emerging technology applications (TAs) — solar energy, mobile communication, rapid bioassays, new water-purification materials, molecular-scale drugs, electric and hybrid vehicles, and green manufacturing — and describe drivers, barriers, and plans for each.
Aviation has few near-term alternative-energy options to petroleum-based fuels. Of alternatives that may be available in commercial quantities in the next decade, Fischer-Tropsch and hydroprocessed renewable jet fuels may reduce aviation's impact on climate but are likely to be available only in limited quantities. All alternatives benefit aviation as well as nonaviation sectors and improve air quality.
Strengthening U.S. International Energy Assistance to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Energy Security — 2009
International energy-assistance programs are a potentially important tool for addressing the challenges of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and increasing U.S. energy security. This study reviews U.S. programs and compares them with German programs, which take a different, more centralized approach. Insights from recent studies of U.S. energy and climate policy are presented, along with recommendations for further investigation.
Alternative fuels derived from oil sands and from coal liquefaction can cost-effectively diversify fuel supplies, but neither type significantly reduces U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions enough to arrest long-term climate change.
Government actions to gain early experience in producing liquid fuels from coal offer major energy security benefits but also raise important economic governance, and environmental issues.
Federal Financial Incentives to Induce Early Experience Producing Unconventional Liquid Fuels — 2008
The government, as a principal, may seek to induce a private investor, as an agent, to build and operate an unconventional-oil production plant to promote early production experience with such plants. Facing significant uncertainty about the future, it also wants to limit the cost to the public of doing this. This report offers an analytic way to design and assess packages of policy instruments that the government can use to achieve its goal.
Impacts on U.S. Energy Expenditures and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions of Increasing Renewable-Energy Use — 2008
How could producing 25 percent of U.S. electricity and motor-vehicle transportation fuels from renewables by the year 2025 affect U.S. consumer energy expenditures and CO2 emissions? This report finds that reaching 25 percent renewables with limited impact on expenditures requires significant progress in renewable-energy technologies and biomass production. Without substantial innovation in these areas, expenditures could increase considerably.
Large U.S. coal reserves and viable technology make promising a domestic industry producing liquid fuels from coal. Weighing benefits, costs, and environmental issues, a productive and robust U.S. strategy is to promote a limited amount of early commercial experience in coal-to-liquids production and to prepare the foundation for managing associated greenhouse-gas emissions, both in a way that reduces uncertainties and builds future capabilities.
In this report, RAND researchers assess the potential future production levels, production costs, greenhouse gases, and other environmental implications of synthetic crude oil from oil sands and fuels produced via coal liquefaction relative to conventional petroleum-based transportation fuels. The findings indicate the potential cost-competitiveness of these alternative fuels and potential economic-environmental trade-offs from their deployment.
Hydrogen as an energy carrier has generated much attention due to its potential large-scale use in producing electrical energy through fuel-cell technologies and in replacing gasoline for use in transportation. On December 9, 2004, the RAND Corporation hosted a forum that drew 40 experts in various fields to discuss what needs to be done to better inform decisionmakers in the public and private sectors of the benefits and risks of various hydrogen-related programs and policies. The document summarizes the proceedings of that forum.
A process for evaluating technology-development options to meet future energy needs. The process evaluates threats to continued reliance on current energy sources, establishes strategic R&D goals, determines how a technology addresses threats and strategic goals, identifies uncertainties and affordability risks, determines technical problems, and establishes R&D needs and opportunities. A case study of fuel cells and coal gasification for electricity generation illustrates the application and advantages of the approach.
This report examines the implications of using alternative power-generation technologies to meet future energy demands in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.
E-Vision 2000: Key Issues That Will Shape Our Energy Future Summary of Proceedings, Scenario Analysis, Expert Elicitation, and Submitted Papers — 2001
This report documents an initiative by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) of the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and assess a range of emerging issues that may affect future energy use and supply.