The U.S. currently relies heavily on fossil fuels that draw on finite resources and can create environmental challenges.
In contrast, renewable energy resources are constantly replenished and require minimal environmental impact to harness
compared to fossil fuels. Renewable energy includes electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, biomass,
geothermal and water resources, and hydrogen and biofuels derived from renewable resources.
Government sponsorship has helped generate momentum in the marketplace for renewable energy through a variety of
financial incentives. Liebman & Associates (L&A) can help you leverage the investment
of the federal government in research, development, and deployment (RD&D) of renewable energy technologies
through grants and national laboratory technical assistance. Our ability to understand your technology and the
government's programmatic objectives will best position you to secure valuable government resources. Government
resources can benefit your organization in developing and executing an energy and sustainability strategy by
providing expert and unbiased technology due diligence and financial support.
Federal government support for renewable energy technologies includes:
- Solar Energy: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s goal is to make solar power cost-competitive with conventional
electricity sources, through acceleration of photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) system technologies.
The PV program's SunShot Initiative aims to decrease the total costs of solar energy systems by 75% to $1 per Watt
installed by 2020. DOE estimates that $1 per Watt installed - equivalent to 5-6 ¢/kilowatt hour (kWh) nearly
everywhere in the United States - would make solar without additional subsidies competitive with the wholesale
rate of electricity. In support of this objective, innovations are needed across the entire system including
cells, modules, balance of system (both hardware and non-hardware such as installation and financing) and power
electronics. Government investments are being made across the full range of requirements to support solar's success.
DOE also estimates that advanced technologies will reduce CSP system and storage costs, enabling CSP to be
competitive in the intermediate power market by 2015 and in the baseload power market by 2020, with
the incorporation 12 to 17 hours of thermal storage. Innovations are needed to drive higher temperature operation
of these systems (e.g., trough, dish, tower, and Fresnel) to improve their performance - materials, molten salts,
receivers, power blocks, heat exchangers - in addition to advanced high termperature storage.
- Biomass, Biofuels and Biopower: Grassy and woody plants, algae, residues from agriculture
and forestry, and the organic component of municipal and industrial wastes can be used as a biomass energy source
to produce fuels, power and products that would otherwise be made from fossil fuels. Unlike other renewable energy
sources, biomass can be converted directly into advanced infrastructure compatible liquid fuels (biofuels) as renewable
substitutes for gasoline and diesel. Congress has established the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that requires 36
billion gallons of biofuel production per year by 2022. As a result, feedstock development, production, logistics
and conversion technologies are needed. Biochemical and thermochemical conversion technologies, including gasification
and pyrolysis, are used to produce intermediates such as syngas that can be further upgraded to final products.
Integrated biorefineries convert biomass into a range of valuable fuels such as diesel and jet fuels, chemicals such
as naphtha, materials and products, much like oil refineries and petrochemical plants do.
Biomass can also be used for power generation. Biopower has the potential to deliver a significant amount of renewable
electricity in the U.S. over the next 30 years and contribute to GHG reductions and sustainable development; but
advancements are still needed regarding an optimized biochar fuel, feedstock logistics and sustainability, fuel
characteristics and feed methods, flue gas clean-up, and power generation and integration with other biomass users.
- Wind Energy: Areas with good wind resources have the potential to supply up to 20% of the
electricity consumption of the U.S. by 2030, through advancement in both low-speed wind turbine and distributed wind
turbine technologies and their related components, such as blades, rotors, drivetrains and power electronics.
The drivetrain, which includes the generator and gearbox, can account for nearly 50% of the capital costs for a
modern wind turbine, where drivetrain weight, energy loss, and operating lifetime are additional key factors that
impact wind energy performance. DOE's program focuses on the these technologies, improving their reliability,
efficiency and performance, to support both offshore and land-based systems and address applications for utilities
(megawatt-scale), mid-size industrial, farm and public facility markets (200kW to 500kW) and small-size commercial,
farm and residential markets (up to 100kW).
- Geothermal Energy: Geothermal technologies use heat from the earth to produce electricity or
heating and cooling for homes and buildings. Because of the continuous availability of this resource, geothermal
energy has the potential to provide baseload power and contribute to the security and diversity of U.S. energy supplies.
Conventional geothermal energy is generated from naturally occurring hot water and steam and Enhanced Geothermal
Systems (EGS) are engineered reservoirs created to produce energy from geothermal resources deficient in economical
amounts of water and/or permeability - hot dry rocks. New technologies and working fluids are enabling low-temperature
(150°C or less) and geo-pressured resources from produced waters in oil and gas fields and permeable sedimentary
rock reservoirs to be harnessed for both direct-use and electricity generation applications. RD&D is needed to
enhance geothermal reservoir performance and sustainability to lower the overall costs of energy production.
- Water Power: Innovative technologies can generate renewable, environmentally responsible, and
cost-effective electricity from water. These include marine and hydrokinetic technologies that harness the energy
from wave, tidal, current and ocean thermal resources, as well as technologies and processes that improve the efficiency,
flexibility, and environmental performance of conventional hydropower generation. Further technology development is
needed on advanced membranes and osmotic power generation strategies to simultaneously produce electricity and
improve desalination efficiency.
- Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: While hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth, it does not
occur naturally by itself and therefore cannot be mined or harvested. However, renewable energy sources can be used
to make hydrogen that is transported or stored for use where and when needed. Fuel cells that electrochemically combine
hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and heat offer the promise of making hydrogen an ideal energy carrier for
both transportation (vehicles, fork lifts) and stationary applications (backup and primary power).
R&D is needed to reduce the cost and increase the durability, reliability, and efficiency of fuel cell systems,
including both stack components and balance of plant.
Ask L&A to show you how renewable energy technologies can be utilized effectively by your business as part of a
comprehensive energy and sustainability strategy. The federal government invests over $1B annually to support the
development and deployment of renewable energy technologies. L&A can help you navigate this positive and emerging
landscape with minimal risk and cost.
Dare to ask, "What if..."