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Technology & Innovation

Green Energy Economics

Business and economics, not technology, are the real keys to progress in the energy frontier, says Department of Energy Under Secretary Steven Koonin.

“‘Industry‚Äôs goal is not to deploy the most innovative or the greenest technology. The goal is to make money,’ Dr. Koonin said. And the scale of investments in energy is so vast that even the government is not in a position to make much of a dent through direct investment: A single, large oil company spends almost as much on research and development per year as the entire Department of Energy budget, he said. So to spur innovation and the deployment of new forms of energy, regulation and financial incentives are key, he said. He cited as an example the way installations of new wind turbines in the United States have risen and fallen in lockstep with the back-and-forth passage and repeal of production tax credits for the industry.”


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