We "desperately need innovation in energy technologies." "Fundamental changes are needed in the U.S. energy-innovation system." "We face a very big innovation challenge over the next few decades, bigger than most people recognize."

Those are some of the phrases that you can find in a new article out from MIT about the energy future in America. As you can see, the researchers aren't exactly confident we can continue the status quo for much longer. To encourage all the innovation and fundamental change required, the authors of Unlocking Energy Innovation (to be published by MIT in 2012) say that they've cracked the code of how to get the right governmental policies and investors working together that, "could accelerate innovation in the United States, helping to meet our growing energy needs affordably and reliably, reducing carbon emissions and alleviating insecurity over energy supplies."

According to the authors, there are four stages that move some piece of innovative technology to an "established part of the energy infrastructure." The first and last stages (discovery and fine-tuning) work fairly well in the current system. The other two – development of prototypes and the deploying the first large-scale systems – are where the problems lie. And if these problems continue to slow down innovation, the big problems won't be solved. One proposed solution is to change the federal system of funding innovation into a regional system that steps in to boost technologies in those middle two states. Other ideas are available, of course, in the book itself.

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