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United States

Official Name:
United States of America

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Government/Ministry
Name:
Erwin Rose
Position:
Foreign Affairs Officer
Phone:
+1 202 647 3934
Emails:
RoseE@state.gov

Energy profile

United States of America

Type: 
Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

Today, the U.S. electric grid is a network of approximately 10,000 power plants, 170,000 miles of high-voltage (>230 kV) transmission lines, over six million miles of  lower-voltage distribution lines, and more than 15,000 substations.

Renewable energy potential

SolarThe solar irradiation in the South-Western United States is exceptional, equivalent to that of Africa and Australia, which contain the best solar resources in the world. Much of the United States has solar irradiation as good or better than Spain, considered the best in Europe, and much higher than Germany. The variation in irradiation over the United States is about a factor two, quite homogeneous compared to other renewable resources. The size of the United States adds to its resource, making it a prime opportunity for solar development.GeothermalGeothermal energy is present throughout the entire country, with most of the highest-quality geothermal resources generally located in the western United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. However, all states may have geothermal electricity generation potential through the use of enhanced, or engineered, geothermal systems (EGS) technologyWind EnergyWind is the fastest growing renewable source, but contributes only 1% of total energy used in the U.S. The country's onshore wind resources have the potential to generate almost 10,500 GW of electricity, 175 times more than the current installed capacity of 60 GW. Based on the average U.S. electricity fuel mix, a one MW wind turbine can displace 1,800 tons of CO2 emissions per year. With a wind power capacity of 300 GW, 825 million metric tons of CO2 emissions could be avoided annually.BiomassU.S. biomass electricity generation potential is highly dependent on how much biomass is available and how much biomass material is dedicated for this specific use. In 2009 an estimated 54,493 GWh of electricity was generated from biomass, which represented approximately 1.2% of total U.S. net electricity generation. According to DOE, approximately 190 million tons of biomass are consumed each year, with roughly 25% to 35% of current biomass consumption being used for electricity generation. DOE analysis and reports indicate that the potential may exist to produce about 1.3 billion tons of biomass annuallyBiogasCorn-based ethanol is the largest source of biofuel in the United States and the world, but the environmental and food supply problems caused by expanding corn cultivation to produce fuel make it ineffective as a strategy to reduce global warming emissions or create additional oil savings.Advanced biofuels made from non-food sources such as perennial grasses, garbage, and waste materials from agriculture and forestry (known as cellulosic biofuels) offer the greatest potential for oil savings and significant global warming emissions reductions with minimal environmental impacts.The United States has the potential to dramatically expand the production of these better biofuels and take a significant step toward cutting U.S. oil consumption in half over the next 20 years. By 2030, the United States could sustainably produce enough non-food biomass resources to generate as much as 54 billion gallons of ethanol each year—four times as much corn ethanol as the United States produced in 2010.HydroHydropower is currently the largest source of renewable electricity production in the United States. In 2010, approximately 257,000 GWh was generated from hydropower resources, equal to roughly 7% of total U.S. electricity generation. A 2007 report by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimated that additional hydropower capacity potential was equal to 62.3 GW.

Energy framework

The National Energy Act of 1978 included legislation to promote energy conservation, to shift towards alternative energy sources, to create a market for independent power producers, and to give the FERC greater authority over natural gas markets.  The Energy Policy Act of 1992 further opened electricity markets to competition; encouraged integrated resource planning by utilities; targeted improved energy management in federal agencies; promoted alternative transportation fuels; and required RD&D of technologies to enhance the production and efficient utilisation of renewable, fossil and nuclear energy resources.In 2005, a new comprehensive Energy Policy Act (EPAct 2005) was introduced as the successor to the 1992 Act. This was followed shortly after by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007). Together, these recent legislative packages substantially define the current US federal energy policy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) is also noteworthy for having dramatically funding for many federal energy programmes.Biofuels represent another avenue for improving US energy security and have received strong policy support. Development of vehicles powered by alternative fuels and biofuel production were promoted by the 2005 EPAct, but EISA 2007 brought biofuels to the forefront of US energy security policy. EISA mandated a fivefold increase from previous biofuel use targets by 2022, requiring fuel producers to use a minimum of 136 billion litres (36 billion gallons), up from 34 billion litres (9 billion gallons) in 2008. To meet environmental objectives, from 2016, new biofuel production towards the mandated target is to be derived from cellulosic or other advanced biofuels that reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%. Most of the new biofuel is to be produced domestically, and the target includes provisions to reduce the required volumes if costs are judged too high or supplies are inadequate. The Recovery Act sought to advance the commercialisation of electric vehicles by investing in facilities that manufacture batteries and other electric vehicle components. The government invested more than USD 2 billion in nearly 50 different electric vehicle and component manufacturing projects. Electric vehicles offer energy security benefits by shifting transportation energy demand from oil to electricity.Climate Action PlanIn June 2013, the United States announced its Climate Action Plan for steady, responsible national and international action to cut GHG emissions, based on three pillars: (i) cut carbon pollution in the United States; (ii) prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change; and (iii) lead international efforts to combat global climate change and prepare for its impacts. Each pillar in the plan consists of a wide variety of executive actions the president can take. The key mitigation elements are numerous:to cut CO2 pollution from coal-fired power plants by directing the US Environmental Protection Agency to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;to unlock long-term investment in clean energy innovation by making up to USD 8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced energy projects that use fossil fuels;to accelerate clean energy permitting by: directing the US Department of the Interior to permit 10 GW of renewables on public lands by 2020; setting a goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables in federally assisted housing by 2020; and deploying 3 GW of renewables in military installations;to expand the federal government’s Better Building Challenge to focus on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings become at least 20% more energy efficient by 2020;to reduce CO2 pollution by at least 3 billion metric tonnes cumulatively by 2030 through efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings;to increase fuel economy standards by developing post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles;to leverage new opportunities to reduce pollution of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), direct agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy and commit to protect forests and critical landscapes.Energy Star (trademarked ENERGY STAR) is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States of America. It was created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Since then, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union have adopted the program. Devices carrying the Energy Star service mark, such as computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, generally use 20–30% less energy than required by federal standards. In the United States, the Energy Star label is also shown on EnergyGuide appliance label of qualifying products.On the Renewable Portfolio Standard and investement tax credit, please see the below section on regulatory framework

Source
Static Source:
  • Two phase process to produce liquid organic fertilizer from plant material

    Type: 
    Product
    Technology:

    Background: The technology described here is a method and apparatus to produce liquid organic fertilizer from plant material by using a two-phase process. The first phase uses a continuous extraction process where liquid leachate (water solution with bacteria) is repeatedly filled and drained from a storage container until the process of chemical decomposition is over. It takes approximately fourteen days to complete the first stage.

  • Control System for Improved Efficiency of PEM Fuel Cells

    Type: 
    Product
    Objective:

    A proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is an electrochemical device that produces “clean” electricity from a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen with only water and heat as byproducts. Mismanagement of the heat generated in the cells drops performance and jeopardizes reliable and safe operations.In a classic system the coolant controls for a PEM fuel cell stack uses a feedback control that is based on the actual temperature value measured at the outlet of the coolant channel. This is known as a “bang-bang” or proportional-integral (PI) controller.

  • Fuel Cell System for Aircraft Propulsion

    Type: 
    Product

    Background: Aircraft thrust is traditionally come from a combustion engine (internal combustion or gas turbine) coupled to either a propeller or a nozzle to produce thrust. These systems deliver high performance but also have high emissions and low fuel efficiency. Some proposals have used fuel cells as propulsion devices by using the electricity a fuel cell produces to power an electric motor linked to a propeller. This system lowers emissions and increases fuel efficiencies but increases weight due to the substantial electric motors required for primary propulsive power.

  • Beyond Fire: How to Achieve Sustainable Cooking

    Type: 
    Publication
    Publication date:
    Objective:
    Approach:

    This report provides an overview of the main technological pathways to fundamentally transform the cooking sector in developing countries to sustainable sources. It provides an analysis of the main technological options and an estimate of their costs and feasibility.

  • Linking Heat and Electricity Systems: Co-generation and District Heating and Cooling Solutions for a Clean Energy Future

    Type: 
    Publication
    Publication date:
    Objective:

    This report highlights two underutilized but fully implementable technologies that efficiently integrate heat and electricity systems, provide flexibility and enhance energy security. It examines what restricts co‑generation and efficient district heating and cooling systems that can help de-carbonize the energy system.

  • Beyond Fire: How to Achieve Sustainable Cooking

    Type: 
    Publication
    Publication date:
    Approach:

    This report provides an overview of the main technological pathways to fundamentally transform the cooking sector in developing countries to sustainable sources. It provides an analysis of the main technological options and an estimate of their costs and feasibility.

  • SMARTer2030 - ICT Solutions for 21st Century Challenges

    Type: 
    Publication
    Publication date:
    Objective:

    SMARTer2030 is the third instalment in the acclaimed GeSI series of SMART reports, demonstrating the enabling potential of ICT in eight different sectors (from buildings to energy, from transport to agriculture and healthcare), and how ICT solutions can support the transition to a low-carbon economy while delivering business opportunities and improving people's quality of life.

  • SystemTransformation - How Digital Solutions Will Drive Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals

    Type: 
    Publication
    Publication date:
    Objective:

    Building on the findings of the GeSI SMARTer2030 report, #SystemTransformation looks at how ICT will be instrumental in the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report analyzes the current SDGs implementation gaps, identifies the key features that make ICT a fundamental tool to achieve the Goals, and provides a deep-dive into those Goals where the ICT contribution can be most immediate and important.

  • Remote Sensing of Subsurface Soil Moisture

    Type: 
    Product
    Objective:

    Researchers at Purdue University have developed an instrument/software that allows remote sensing of surface soil moisture from an airborne instrument using reflective electromagnetic radiation. This can provide the most efficient method to collect measurements and survey an entire field with high spatial density in a short period of time. It makes use of lower-frequency signals which are required to penetrate the soil. Resolution is determined only by the frequency of the signal, under the assumption of a near-specular reflection, not the antenna size.

  • InnoVentum AB

    Type: 
    Organisation
    Knowledge partner
    Country of registration:
    Sweden
    Relation to CTCN:
    Network Member
    Knowledge Partner
    Sector(s) of expertise:

    The mission of InnoVentum is to bring Power to the People. Innoventum has developed and commercialised a range of environmentally friendly renewable energy solutions: small wind and solar installations as well as hybrid wind-solar stations. The 12 m towers of Innoventum are made of wood and can be easily installed without a crane. Innoventum has experience in configuring and installing renewable energy mini-grids with battery and diesel backup.