Clean electric power is paramount to today’s mission to meet our interdependent security, economic, and environmental goals. While supporting aggressive emission reductions, the traditional market drivers such as reliability, safety, and affordability must be maintained and enhanced. The current portfolio of electric production includes a combination of coal, nuclear (with five new reactors under construction), hydro, growing natural gas, and rapidly advancing renewable generation sources. Complementing this evolving generation mix, technologies to enable higher efficiencies, pollution control, and carbon capture and storage are essential aspects of the RDD&D portfolio.
This chapter describes the current status and future outlook for power generation technologies, and identifies RDD&D directions that will contribute to a portfolio of technology options that can meet future regional demands. A combination of flexible technology options will be required to meet increasing power needs in the U.S. and globally. The QTR focuses on technological advances to meet U.S. energy needs and challenges, recognizing that these also offer opportunities for cooperative research that will expedite the international deployment of these technologies.