This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 25, 2010

Vice President Biden Releases Report Showing Recovery Act Energy Impact

Photo of an employee helping lift a large battery from an assembly line.

In January, Operations Manager Marisol McCormick helped lift the first Chevrolet Volt battery pack off a General Motors Michigan assembly line.
Credit: Steve Fecht, GM

Vice President Joe Biden on August 24 unveiled a new analysis showing that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's $100 billion investment in innovation is helping accelerate significant advances in science and technology. According to "The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy through Innovation," the United States is now on track to achieve three major energy innovation breakthroughs thanks to Recovery Act investments: cutting the cost of solar power in half by 2015; reducing the cost of batteries for electric vehicles by 70% between 2009 and 2015; and doubling U.S. renewable energy generation and renewable manufacturing capacity by 2012. Overall, the Recovery Act is impacting science, technology, and innovation projects ranging from building a nationwide smart energy grid to growing the emerging electric vehicle industry, the report notes.

The numbers are compelling, according to the report. For example, solar power is on a path to drop from $0.21 per kWh in 2009 to $0.10 per kWh in 2015, a level equivalent to household electricity rates. The cost of power from utility-scale solar projects also should drop, from $0.13 per kWh today to $0.06 in 2015, a rate equal to the cost of wholesale utility power. Further, the cost of rooftop solar power could fall to as low as $0.06 per kWh by 2030, a cost less than household rates. Another advance is a major reduction in the prices of vehicle batteries. The report projects cost of the typical all-electric vehicle (EV) battery will shrink from the current $33,000 to $10,000 in 2015, while plug-in hybrid batteries will drop from $13,000 to $4,000 apiece. These cuts will make EVs and hybrids competitive with similar non-electric vehicles.

Additionally, the United States is poised to both double renewable energy generation and renewable manufacturing capacity by 2012, aided by more than $23 billion of Recovery Act investments. U.S. renewable energy generation capacity from wind, solar, and geothermal is expected to increase 100% by 2012, going from the 28.8 gigawatts (GW) installed as of 2008 to 57.6 GW by the end of 2011. That amount of renewable energy will be enough to power 16.7 million homes. Finally, the Recovery Act strategy calls for the doubling of U.S. renewable energy manufacturing capacity from an annual output of 6 GW of renewable equipment (such as wind turbines or solar panels) to 12 GW by the end of 2011. See the DOE press release, the new White House Innovation Web site, and the full report (PDF 1.3 MB). Download Adobe Reader.