IAP event showcases student research

Victoria Ekstrom MITEI

This article appears in the Spring 2013 issue of Energy Futures, the magazine of the MIT Energy Initiative. Subscribe today.

Megan Lickley, research associate in the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, discusses her work on the need to protect the coastal infrastructure under rising flood risks. She measured the costs associated with adding a sea wall to protect power plants off the coast of Galveston, Texas, as an example of how her research could be applied. All photos: Justin Knight.

MIT students brought their latest climate change ideas and findings to the table at an event on January 29, 2013. The multidisciplinary group of young researchers made presentations to officials from the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in hopes that the state would be able to leverage the information for future planning and implementation.

“Going forward we will need to be thinking out of the box, creatively, for future planning,” Massachusetts Undersecretary for Energy Barbara Kates-Garnick said at the event. “So much of what you’re doing is totally relevant to what we’re working on….I’m sure that we will be back in touch.”

Jennifer Morris, graduate student in engineering systems, describes the added costs that come when combining a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and a cap-and-trade policy. Her research shows that an RPS shifts investment away from least-cost emission-reduction options and toward specific renewable technologies that could be more costly.
Christopher Mackey, graduate student in architecture, describes ways to counter the heat island effect by adding vegetation and reflective roofs to cool urban microclimates. His research shows the success such strategies could have, using the city of Chicago as an example.
Daniel Chavas, graduate student in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, presents on the science of hurricane size, noting that larger storms (such as Sandy) can cause significantly more damage than smaller storms of comparable intensity.

Also of interest: Changing with the climate: MIT researchers, Massachusetts officials highlight strategies to adapt to climate change


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