Energy systems are among the most complex and consequential technological systems. They have manifold impacts on both society and the environment, shaping economic and social opportunities and threatening harm on a planetary scale. Tracing the evolution of these systems and conceiving societal interventions that will nudge them in new directions is a crucial area of my research. In 2016-2017, I am serving as a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, organizing events and writing about low-carbon energy innovation policy for the United States. In 2015-2016, I worked with public policy doctoral students Kurt Birson and Alfred Sarkissian to prepare case studies of grid-scale batteries and solar photovoltaic electricity generation for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.
This work builds on the book Unlocking Energy Innovation: How America Can Build a Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System (MIT Press 2011), written with Richard K. Lester, the head of the MIT nuclear science and engineering department. Based on a three year study with colleagues at MIT’s Industrial Performance Center and supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the book envisions an energy innovation system that is not only larger than today’s, but also more diverse, more competitive, more entrepreneurial, and more deeply-rooted in the country’s regional strengths.