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AEIC Scaling Innovation Project

Technology Demonstration Case Study Series

The American Energy Innovation Council has begun a new Scaling Innovation project focused on addressing the challenges inherent to the scale-up and demonstration of new energy technologies. We have convened experts from industry, academia, finance, entrepreneurship, and government to explore the challenges and policy fixes necessary to drive clean energy innovation to scale. The first product from the project is this set of case studies from leading experts looking back to notable past policy efforts to help inform new programs to demonstrate first- of- a- kind energy technology projects.

In the first AEIC report, A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future (2010), a New Energy Challenge Program was proposed as a way for the U.S. government to support the demonstration and eventual commercialization of new energy technologies. For the United States to meet aggressive mid-century decarbonization commitments, a technology-inclusive portfolio of clean and innovative technologies, including advanced nuclear and renewable energy systems, zero-carbon fuels, long-duration electricity storage, and carbon capture and storage must be deployed commercially at scale.

The initial demonstration of complex technologies is a well-recognized challenge in the energy sector where first-of-kind risks are difficult to manage and projects must operate in highly regulated commodity markets, many of which may not yet appropriately value their advanced attributes.

This case study series consists of four case studies examining the role of demonstration projects in the commercialization of new clean energy technologies:

  1. The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and the Rise of Utility-Scale Solar Photovoltaics: How U.S. Public Policy During the Great Recession Launched a Decade-Long Solar Boom by Varun Sivaram.
  2. A Review of Federal Efforts to Demonstrate Carbon Capture and Storage with Commercial-Scale Coal-Based Power Plants (2003-2016) by Eric Redman.
  3. The U.S. Clean Energy Deployment Administration: A Business-Driven Approach to Leveraging Private Sector Investment in U.S. Clean Energy Technology Innovation, Commercialization, and Deployment by Dan Reicher.
  4. Flying Laboratories, Prototyping, and Dem/Val: The Crucial Role of Technology Demonstration in Advancing Military Innovation and Its Relevance for the Department of Energy by Dorothy Robyn.
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