Substantial reductions in CO2 emissions from the energy sector will require integrated deployment of multiple technologies: energy efficiency, renewables, coal and natural gas with CCS, and nuclear. Widespread deployment is expected to take on the order of years to decades. Such system-level implementation and integration require not only technology research and development but also research on potential hidden costs of implementation, the barriers to deployment, and the infrastructure and institutions that are needed to support implementation. All technologies have multiple impacts that require analysis and trade-offs in making choices among them. For example, impacts associated with the manufacturing and ultimate disposal of technologies can be substantial, even in comparison to the impacts of the operation of the technology. Life-cycle analysis and other analytical approaches (discussed in Chapter 4) can help identify the full set of impacts associated with a technology and thus can be an important tool for technology-related decision making.
Research is also needed to understand and address barriers to implementation. A full discussion of the strategies for, and barriers of, deployment of the technologies outlined above is beyond the scope of this chapter; however, Tables 14.1 and 14.2 provide a summary of issues as outlined by the U.S. Climate Change Technology Program. Analyses and approaches that identify and address these issues will be critical to implementation strategies (see America's Energy Future [NRC, 2009a,b,c,d] and Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change [NRC, 2010b]). Finally, for some deployment challenges, full-scale demonstrations are critical precursors to implementation. America's Energy Future (NRC, 2009d) identified two kinds of demonstrations that should be carried out in the next decade: assessing the viability of CCS for sequestering CO2 from coal and natural gas-fired electricity generation, and demonstrating the commercial viability of evolutionary nuclear plants in the United States. Such demonstration projects can provide research testbeds for understanding and evaluating the full suite of issues related to implementation.
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