low-carbon energy

Expert Voices

U.S. minerals strategy aims to safeguard vital technologies

lab scientist coating a glass slide with indium
A glass slide being coated with indium tin oxide for use in a nanoparticle solar cell. Photo: Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Commerce Department released on Tuesday an interagency report that identifies a list of minerals deemed critical to U.S. strategic interests and outlines an action plan to ensure their supply.

Why it matters: Securing these minerals and their supply chains is essential to leading the way on technologies that will enable the global energy transition, including cobalt and lithium for batteries, graphite and scandium for fuel cells, and indium and tellurium for solar panels.

Expert Voices

Updating clean energy tax credits could help commercialize new tech

tanks of a redox flow battery
Electrolyte tanks of a redox flow battery, which can store electricty generated by renewables. Photo: Uli Deck/picture alliance via Getty Images

From December 2019 into the next several years, a slate of federal tax credits for solar and wind power are set to expire, allowing Congress a chance to revisit this valuable plank of clean energy policy.

The big picture: Under current incentives, wind and solar power have come to produce over 8% of U.S. electricity, up from less than 1% a decade agoBut the credits have ballooned in cost — from under $1 billion in 2008 to $5.5 billion in 2018 — while doing little to promote other new energy technologies that will play a vital role in decarbonizing the economy.