Courtesy Reuters

From Lab to Market

By Paul Bubbosh

Varun Sivaram and Teryn Norris (“The Clean Energy Revolution,” May/ June 2016) present a sobering reality about clean energy technologies: today’s solar panels and wind turbines are probably not sufficient if the world wants to meet the emissions-reduction goals set at the Paris climate conference. Their call for massive investment in next-generation green technologies fails to address a crucial problem, however: how such technologies can be rolled out at scale in a way that is commercially viable.

The best places for moving innovative technologies from the laboratory to mass use are in the developing world. Together, China and India have as much potential for scaling up renewable technologies as the United States and the European Union do, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, and Chinese and Indian regulators are more likely to welcome risky technologies than their Western counterparts are. Those countries could serve as the testing grounds for the widespread deployment of the new technologies the world needs. 

PAUL BUBBOSH is Former Director of the Energy Security Division, U.S. Department of Energy.