This report aims to provide a comprehensive, objective portrait of the U.S. electric grid and the challenges and opportunities it is likely to face over the next two decades. It also highlights a number of areas in which policy changes, focused research and demonstration, and the collection and sharing of important data can facilitate meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities that the grid will face.
This study is the sixth in the MIT Energy Initiative’s “Future of” series. Its predecessors have shed light on a range of complex and important issues involving energy and the environment. While the previous studies have focused on particular technologies and energy supply, our study of the grid necessarily considers many technologies and multiple overlapping physical and regulatory systems. Because of this breadth, our efforts were focused on integrating and evaluating existing knowledge rather than performing original research and analysis. In addition, this study’s predecessors focused on implications of national policies limiting carbon emissions, while we do not make assumptions regarding future carbon policy initiatives. Instead, we mainly consider the implications of a set of ongoing trends and existing policies.
Research Director Postdoctoral Associate
MIT Energy Initiative
Associate Professor and Werner-von-Siemens Chair for Power Electronics, Lahore University of Management Sciences, School of Science and Engineering, Pakistan; Visiting Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
Assistant Professor of Engineering Systems and Management, Masdar Institute, UAE; Research Affiliate, Technology and Development Program, MIT
Research Affiliate, MIT Energy Initiative; Former Vice President for Information Services and Technology, MIT
Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy; Research Director, Harvard Electricity Policy Group, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University