The current energy policy debate centers around how to address three central and interrelated objectives: protecting the environment, enhancing energy security, and promoting economic growth. While it is generally accepted that the next generation of “clean” technologies can help meet these goals, there are varying views on how best to promote technology innovation in a timely, cost-effective manner and balance public and private sector needs. One example of the challenge is battery technology. In early January, the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago and General Motors signed a licensing deal for an advanced technology that allows batteries to last longer between charges and has a higher energy storage capacity.
On February 8, the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion on vehicle battery technology, specifically the status of technology development, the major challenges in moving the various designs to the marketplace, and what policies and incentives are needed to commercialize the technologies and expand electrification of vehicle transportation. Eric Isaacs, director of Argonne National Laboratory, gave a keynote address and David Sandalow, assistant secretary for policy and international affairs, U.S. Department of Energy, delivered closing remarks. After the presentations, the speakers took audience questions.