• The Carbon-Free Technology Initiative is focused on implementation of federal policies that can help ensure the commercial availability of affordable, carbon-free, 24/7 power technology options by the early 2030s to help the electric power industry meet net-zero carbon reduction commitments. Learn More.
Overview

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and it is essential that we take aggressive action to tackle climate change while also delivering the reliable and affordable energy that powers the American economy.

Existing technologies can get us much of the way to a 100 percent clean energy future. Completing the work will require new, carbon-free, 24/7 technologies that are affordable for customers. 

Ultimately, technology will drive the timeline to a 100-percent clean energy future, and federal policies are a necessary catalyst to accelerate the pace of innovation and to ensure these technologies are demonstrated and commercialized in the time that electric companies need them.

We can meet the challenge of addressing climate change and develop the carbon-free technologies that will help the world meet this challenge.

Our organizations have joined together to form and advance the Carbon-Free Technology Initiative.

As we continue to make significant reductions in carbon emissions across our industry, it’s really important that we also move on a parallel path to develop the zero-carbon, 24/7 resources we’ll need to achieve a carbon-free electricity system.

Ben Fowke
Key Facts
Carbon Emissions Lowest Level
in 40 Years

Carbon emissions from the U.S. power sector are at their lowest level in more than 40 years – and continue to fall.

40% of Electricity
From Carbon-Free Sources

40% of all U.S. power generation comes from carbon-free sources, including nuclear energy, hydropower, wind and solar energy.

3x Increase
In Total Spending

CFTI recommends a tripling of total spending at the Department of Energy for research, development, and demonstration in power sector technologies in the next five years.

CFTI is the result of a simultaneous realization in the power industry and among advocates of carbon mitigation that decarbonizing the grid will most likely require a combination of the very cheap solar and wind emerging on the markets and some sort of firming, always-on, always-available, zero-carbon capacity.

Armond Cohen
Clean Air Task Force Executive Director
Key Technology Areas

The CFTI focuses on policy recommendations to advance key technology areas. We also support the creation of the domestic supply chain needed to deploy advanced clean energy technologies.

Advanced Wind and Solar Energy Systems

While the U.S. electric power industry has deployed gigawatts of wind and solar energy over the past decade, transformational innovations to increase efficiency and dispatchability and to reduce the costs of onshore wind and solar are still possible. Offshore wind is at a much earlier stage of commercial maturation, and innovation to improve the efficiency, cost, and performance of offshore technologies is needed.

Policy Recommendations
Long-Duration Energy Storage and Advanced Demand Efficiency

Advanced energy storage is storage that can hold energy for days, weeks, and months, allowing energy generated from zero-carbon sources like solar and wind to be stored across seasons. Demand efficiency refers to a range of new hardware and software solutions that increase grid efficiency to align customer demand with the availability of a variable energy supply from sources like renewables. As more renewable electricity is supplied to the grid, long-duration storage and advanced demand efficiency are important to taking full advantage of the benefits of wind and solar.

Policy Recommendations
Zero-Carbon Fuels

Zero carbon fuels are portable, storable, affordable, energy-dense fuels derived from hydrogen, ammonia, or synthetic hydrofluorocarbons made with carbon extracted from the air. They can help power the portions of the economy not served by electrification, including heavy-duty shipping and concrete.

Policy Recommendations
Advanced Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy produces carbon-free generation at scale. Advanced nuclear is a new kind of reactor that has the potential to offer additional safety features, decreased waste production, more efficient use of fuel resources, and reduced material inputs.

Increased funding is critical for advanced nuclear fission and fusion, which have the potential to achieve deep carbon reductions not only in the electric power sector, but also the transportation, building, and industrial sectors.

Policy Recommendations
Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage

Carbon capture technologies enable power plants and other industrial sources to capture carbon dioxide emissions, transport them, and either utilize them with emissions reductions impact or store them underground permanently. While carbon capture technologies have been demonstrated at a commercial scale, deployment of carbon capture in the power sector has been slow. Federal policy can bring down the cost of capture and enable the deployment of commercial-scale power sector projects.

Policy Recommendations
Super Hot Rock Deep Geothermal

​Super hot rock geothermal is a promising form of renewable energy generated from extremely hot geologic features deep beneath the Earth’s core. It holds the potential to provide vast amounts of zero-carbon energy at scale, building on existing industries for drilling and power production. It is not geographically restricted, unlike today’s commercial geothermal power.

Policy Recommendations
Our Policy Focus

​Many of the CFTI’s policy recommendations across all technology areas address research and development, demonstration, deployment, and issues that have an impact on the cost or performance of a technology, such as siting and permitting. Our policy recommendations address the need for appropriations, authorizations, and tax and finance policies to advance these technologies.

Learn More

Additional Resources
Achieving Clean Energy Goals With Advanced Carbon-Free Technologies

​Electric Perspectives, March/April 2021

Biden’s Clean Energy Loan Program Will Give Tomorrow’s Teslas A Jolt

​Forbes, March 11, 2021

America's Investor-Owned Utilities: We Can Achieve A 100% Clean Energy Future

​UtilityDive, January 26, 2021

Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission

​September 15, 2020

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