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The Quadrennial Technology Review

The Quadrennial Technology Review

The last four years have been defined by dramatic change in the nation’s energy landscape. Domestic production of oil and natural gas has boomed, causing the United States to become the world leader in combined oil and natural gas production for the last three consecutive years. Electricity generation from solar photovoltaic cells has increased over tenfold and wind power has nearly doubled. Looking forward, the United States faces significant energy-linked economic, environmental, and security challenges. Climate change is one of the most pressing dangers of our time and will greatly magnify all of these challenges unless swift action is taken to reduce carbon emissions. The rapidly evolving nature of energy technology and scientific capability to address these challenges demands rigorous analysis to inform DOE's strategic decisions—a need that the Quadrennial Technology Review will address.

The 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR 2015) will examine the most promising research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) opportunities across energy technologies to effectively address the nation's energy needs. Specifically, this analysis will identify the important technology RDD&D opportunities across energy supply and end-use in working towards a clean energy economy in the United States. The insight gained from this analysis will provide essential information for decision-makers as they develop funding decisions, approaches to public-private partnerships, and other strategic actions over the next five years.


The QTR 2015 builds upon the first QTR in 2011, focusing on DOE energy technology RDD&D activities and complements the work of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focuses on energy infrastructure and government-wide energy policy. The 2011 QTR was developed in response to the Report to the President on Accelerating the Pace of Change in Energy Technologies through an Integrated Federal Energy Policy by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The first QTR defined a framework for understanding and discussing energy system challenges, established a set of priorities for the Department, and explained to stakeholders the roles of DOE and the national laboratories, the broader government, the private sector, academia, and innovation in energy transformation.


QTR 2015 will describe the nation’s energy landscape and the dramatic changes that have taken place in the last four years. Specifically, it will begin by building on the first QTR and identifying what has changed in the technologies reviewed within it since 2011. It will then identify the RDD&D activities, opportunities, and pathways forward to help address our national energy challenges. QTR 2015 will approach the analysis from a strong systems perspective to explore the integration of science and energy technology RDD&D with cross-cutting technology RDD&D and conduct an integrated analysis of RDD&D opportunities.


In addition to analysis of recent reports, journal articles, and consultation with leading experts, webinars and workshops are being held to inform and solicit input from industry and university stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities in energy RDD&D. The upcoming QTR 2015 framing document further describes the purpose and the technologies being assessed.


Achieving the goals of the QTR will require engagement of external stakeholders from industry, academia, government, national laboratories, other research institutions, and additional interested parties. Contributions are encouraged for identifying key RDD&D opportunities, approaches to analysis of the RDD&D portfolio, and means for accelerating the RDD&D process. Input into the QTR process will occur through a Federal Register Notice. Interested parties may submit comments by sending an email to