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Updated 16 September 2005

Vision and Framework for Strategy and Planning
Published August 2005




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Hydrogen Flame: Courtesy of DOE/NREL, Credit – Warren Gretz











Nuclear Power Plant, ©Royalty-Free/CREATAS





























High-Temperature Superconductive (HTS) motor: Courtesy of DOE/NREL, Credit – Reliance Electric Co.
















Enzyme bound to silica, William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory









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An important role of the CCTP is to provide strategic direction for and strengthen the Federal portfolio of investments in climate change technology R&D.   The CCTP continues to prioritize the portfolio of Federally-funded climate change technology R&D consistent with the President's National Climate Change Technology Initiative (NCCTI). In 2005, the CCTP will publish a preliminary Strategic Plan and solicit comments from the scientific community and the public. The CCTP will also identify within its portfolio a subset of NCCTI priority activities, defined as discrete R&D activities that address technological challenges, which, if solved, could advance technologies with the potential to dramatically reduce, avoid, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.

Strategic Plan

The CCTP Strategic Plan (forthcoming) augments the Vision and Framework by outlining specific technology strategies for the accomplishment of each of CCTP’s strategic goals. The Strategic Plan provides a government-wide basis for guiding and coordinating Federal R&D portfolio planning; identifying high priority investments, gaps and emerging opportunities; and organizing future CCTP-related research. Additionally, CCTP planning activities will be informed by studies, inputs from diverse sources, technical workshops, assessments of technology potentials, analyses regarding long-term energy and emissions outlooks, and modeling by a number of expert groups of a range of technology scenarios over a century-long planning horizon. See Appendix A.

Portfolio Planning Principles

In portfolio planning, CCTP adheres to three broad principles. The first principle, given the many attendant uncertainties about the future, is that the whole of the individual R&D investments should constitute a balanced and diversified portfolio. Considerations include the realizations that (1) no single technology will likely meet the challenge alone; (2) investing in R&D in advanced technologies involves risk, since the results   of these investments are not known in advance, and among successful outcomes, some are not likely to be as successful as hoped; and (3) a diverse array of technology options, including related deployment activities, can hedge against risk and provide important flexibility in the future, which may be needed to respond to new and potentially strategy-changing information. The CCTP portfolio also strives to balance short- and long-term technology objectives.

The second principle is to ensure that factors affecting market acceptance are addressed. In order to enable widespread deployment of advanced technologies, each technology must be integrated within a larger technical system and infrastructure. Market acceptance of technologies is influenced by a myriad of social and economic factors. The CCTP’s portfolio planning process must be informed by and benefit from private sector and other non-Federal inputs, examine the lessons of historical analogues for technology acceptance, and apply them as a means to anticipate issues and inform R&D planning.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the timing regarding the commercial readiness of the advanced technology options is an important CCTP planning consideration. Most infrastructure has a long lifetime, and change in the capital stock occurs slowly. Once new technologies are available, their adoption takes time. Some technologies with low or near net-zero GHG emissions may need to be available and moving into the marketplace decades before their maximum market penetration is achieved.

Portfolio Planning and Investment Criteria

Within the planning framework of vision, mission, goals, approaches, and portfolio investment principles, the CCTP’s prioritization process applies four criteria (see Box 1, page 28). Once the individual competing investments are identified, the CCTP will then consider their merits based on expected benefits versus costs, such as maximizing potential climate change related benefits per dollar of Federal investment (Criterion #1). CCTP also recognizes the proper and distinct roles for the public and private sectors (Criterion #2). In addition, in order to minimize the risk of portfolio dilution (i.e., spreading resources across too many areas), the CCTP will focus on technologies with potential for large-scale application (Criterion #3). Technologies that are expected to have limited impact on overall GHG emissions may still be given a priority, if they can deliver benefits earlier in the century or are particularly cost-compelling. Finally, the CCTP planning process gives weight to considerations of logical sequencing of research (Criterion #4), where the value in knowing whether a technological advance is or is not successful can have a cascading effect on the sequencing of subsequent investments.

Box 1: CCTP Portfolio Planning and Investment Criteria

Maximizing Return on Investment.

R&D investments that provide the greatest likelihood of maximum climate change related benefits per dollar of Federal investment receive priority in investment planning. Benefits are defined with respect to expected contributions to the attainment of CCTP goals and may include other considerations, such as improved productivity and cost savings. Potential climate change benefits are long-term public goods. Discount rates must be appropriate to properly assess alternative technology strategies for achieving both near-term and long-term goals. This criterion includes considerations of development and deployment risks. Projects with high risk, but low emissions-reduction potential should be removed from the CCTP R&D portfolio.

Acknowledging the Proper and Distinct Roles for the Public and Private Sectors.

The CCTP portfolio recognizes that some R&D is the proper purview of the private sector; other R&D may be best performed jointly through public-private partnerships; and still other R&D may be best performed by the Federal sector alone. In cases where public support of R&D is warranted, technology development and adoption require cooperation and engagement with the private sector. History demonstrates that early involvement in technology R&D by the business community increases the probability of commercialization. A key consideration in the investment process is the means for engaging the talents of the private sector using innovative and effective approaches in both technology development and deployment.

Focusing on Technology with Large-Scale Potential.

The scope, scale, and magnitude of the long-term climate change challenge suggests that relatively small, incremental improvements in existing technologies will not enable full achievement of CCTP goals. Every technology option has limiting factors of various kinds. Such factors need to be identified, explored and understood early in the planning process. Technology options should be adaptable on a global scale and have a clear path to commercialization. High-priority investments will focus on technology options that could, if successful, result in large mitigation contributions, accumulated over the span of the 21st century. For technologies on the lower end of this criterion, benefits should be deliverable earlier in the century and/or be particularly compelling from a marginal benefit/cost perspective.

Sequencing R&D Investments in a Logical, Developmental Order.

Investments must be logically sequenced over time. Supporting a robust and diversified portfolio does not mean that all technology options must be supported simultaneously, or that all must proceed at an accelerated pace. Logical sequencing of R&D investments takes into account (i) the expected times when different technologies may need to be made available and cost-effective, (ii) the need for early resolution of critical uncertainties, and (iii) the need to demonstrate early success or feasibility of technologies upon which other technology advancements may be based.

Application of Criteria

General Electric MS9001H Advanced Gas Turbine, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), U.S. Department of EnergyThe CCTP’s planning and prioritization process will rely on a strategic review of portfolio adequacy to make progress toward attainment of CCTP goals, with an emphasis on identifying gaps, key opportunities for new initiatives, and periodic realignments. The process will not be easily reduced to quantitative analysis due, in part, to the large number of variables and uncertainties associated with the nature of the climate change challenge and, in part, to the CCTP’s long planning horizon. The process would be incomplete without recognition of the importance of expert judgment and planning insights. Such caveats notwithstanding, the prioritization criteria discussed above will be applied and augmented by inputs from various quarters.

A first step in the prioritization process, already begun, is to establish a baseline, or inventory, of the existing portfolio of R&D activities across the participating agencies. Criteria for inclusion have been developed. These criteria closely track the CCTP strategic goals. See Appendix B for the budget details and for a list of the inclusion criteria (not to be confused with the criteria for investment prioritization). The results of this first step are continuing to be refined.

The second step in the process is to assess regularly the potential for each activity in the portfolio to make progress toward accomplishment of the CCTP’s strategic goals. This assessment is intended to affirm some elements of the portfolio, challenge others, as well as to identify gaps and promising new opportunities. Once a full set of candidate investments are identified, including gaps and opportunities, the prioritization criteria can then be applied within the context of each strategic goal.

Hydrogen Fueling Dispenser at the Las Vegas Energy Station, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

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