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CREST Strategic Research

A Carbon Roadmap

As one of the three essential pillars of CREST, we launched the Carbon Roadmap in June of 2010 with motivation from the successful International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). Our approach has been to consider two pathways for the Carbon Roadmap: the Domain-Specific Technology Path, which focuses on the micro level changes in green technology and energy efficiency, and the Energy System Transition path, which utilizes a macro-level cross country analysis to identify the intersections between governmental/regulatory issues and technological capacity for change.   

While the project is known as the “Carbon Roadmap,” we expect a series of roadmaps to emerge. On a practical level, the domain specific technology path will guide technologists and investors seeking to identify obstacles, levers, useful paths and “dead ends” for specific technology advancement. On a global level, the energy system transition path will allow countries to compare approaches and priorities, governments to identify resources and plan policy development, and companies to develop cross-national collaborations to tackle problems of mutual interest and benefit. To refine a process and get started, we narrowed our focus to advancing energy efficiency in buildings as a starting point for both paths.

1) Domain-specific technology path: Energy monitoring in buildings

The objective of this path is to look at narrow, established low-carbon technology domains and targets and ask which technical objectives in each domain should be roadmapped. We began by focusing on information technology (IT) for green, efficient buildings because Berkeley has well-developed expertise in this domain. Our goal for the first year was to conduct a demonstration project to develop a scalable, repeatable process to create and update roadmaps. With an operational process in place, the Carbon Roadmap project can ultimately develop a trajectory for the energy system transformation embodying all of the characteristics described earlier, and it will serve as a guide for the industries and government policies that will deliver the transformation.

2) Energy System Transition Path

Roadmapping the energy system transition path is a broad and complex endeavor. It requires examination of a comprehensive set of questions that focus on the integration and delivery of a low-carbon high-efficiency energy system, individually tailored to meet the goals and priorities of countries around the globe. Climatological and political differences between countries present unique challenges in available resources, institutional barriers and opportunities for innovation. To launch this path of the Carbon Roadmap, we have initiated a cross-national discussion of the levers and switches that will transform the energy system and the obstacles that will slow the process down.