Clean Energy R&D Could Be the Solution to Climate Change

Research and Development is the unsung hero when it comes to American innovation. Decades ago, unemployment and lack of sufficient industries were the biggest challenges in America, but Government funded Research and Development (R&D) innovations took care of all of that. Today, we have a different challenge: climate change.

But the good news is that R&D can help take care of that too, through clean energy R&D policies. In fact, clean energy R&D policies are already making a difference in the realm of climate change.

Did you know that clean energy is cheaper today compared to any other time in history? And that is a direct result of scientific innovations that were made possible by R&D investments made 10, 15, 20, and even 30 years ago.

Even though this improvement is nowhere close to goals we would like to attain in the long term, it is significant progress we should definitely include in the “win” column.

That said, we cannot fully take control over climate change only using the technology we have today.

“Clean Energy R&D innovation is the ultimate solution to the surging threat in climate change. All nations around the world do not have the luxury to sit around and wait for the next cutting edge technological inventions to emerge so they can start taking action,” said Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the Department of Energy.

This means governments need to make serious investments in clean energy R&D right away.

On the bright side, clean energy R&D that has already had an impact is Solar Photovoltaics. These devices were invented back in the 1950s, but they were too expensive to be adopted for commercial and non-commercial use back then.

However, thanks to recent, multiple R&D breakthroughs, the market cost of these devices dropped from $76.67 in 1977 to $0.26 in 2016. This marks a decrease of more than 99% in 39 years.

This astounding price decrease accelerated deployment, opening the doors wide open for the solar sector: which, in turn, encouraged private investments in the clean energy economy.

To meet the challenges of climate change wholly, we need more R&D victories like these.

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