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So much of America's future is at stake in the 2016 presidential election.Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, arguably President Obama's best Cabinet appointment, has been leading a quiet revolution in clean-energy technology. First, some Energy Department numbers that illustrate the transformation that's underway: The cost of purchasing energy-efficient LED lights has dropped 90 percent since 2008; the cost of producing large-scale solar energy has fallen 60 percent over that period; prices for wind energy and efficient batteries have declined by over 40 percent.Moniz describes three ARPA-E projects he thinks are especially promising. One company is building an advanced photovoltaic cell that could, by 2020, reduce the cost of installed solar energy by 50 percent from its 2009 level. Another company is creating new systems that could significantly cut power use by electric motors, which currently consume about 30 percent of America's electricity. A third company is building a new kind of airborne turbine that could capture enough wind energy to serve 85 percent of America's land mass, compared with 15 percent today.
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