Future Of Energy: Policy And Finance


Publish Date:
October 5, 2017
  • Schwartz, Mark
Stanford News
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Much of the energy research that has proliferated at Stanford since 2002 focuses on technological solutions – improved solar cells, better batteries for storing energy, carbon capture and storage. But without federal and state policies supporting adoption of these technologies, few are likely to replace fossil fuels any time soon.

One way to accelerate adoption of low-carbon energy technologies is to put a price on carbon. Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, director of the Hoover Institution’s Shultz-Stephenson Energy Policy Task Force, has proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax: Industries that emit carbon dioxide would be faced with a choice – either reduce CO2 emissions or pay a carbon tax that is then refunded to consumers.

Dan Reicher and colleagues at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance are looking at an array of policies and related financing mechanisms, including how federal tax credits affect the growth of solar and wind power in the United States, as well government policies to encourage carbon capture and sequestration.

“The U.S. government has long played a vital and successful role in helping to commercialize energy technology through federal loan guarantees and other programs,” said Reicher. “This support helps innovators cross the colorfully but accurately named ‘Valley of Death’ that sits between the early development of an advanced energy technology and its full commercial deployment.”

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