Growing Concerns, Possible Solutions

May 2014
Growing Concerns, Possible Solutions

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The 2013 MITEI symposium, titled Growing Concerns, Possible Solutions: The Interdependency of Natural Gas and Electricity Systems, was held at MIT on April 16. The one-day event provided the research, industry, investment, and policy communities with a framework for understanding the challenges associated with electricity and natural gas interdependency, particularly in the context of the United States. Symposium participants identified several policy and market-driven solutions to mitigate growing economic and reliability concerns. This report synthesizes those key findings and the overall discussion.

While this report provides perspectives and policy recommendations from the symposium, it is in no way meant to represent the views of all or any individual participants or presenters.


The MIT Energy Initiative thanks the sponsors of the Associate Member Symposium Series Cummins, EDF, Entergy, and Hess for supporting this informative series of one-day programs.

We also thank the speakers, the respondents, and the participants who filled the day with lively discussion, thought-provoking debate, and substantive information. MITEI event staff, led by Debi Kedian, should be commended for orchestrating a flawless event.

In addition, we would like to thank the two graduate student rapporteurs, Sandra E. Jenkins and Alex Cade Breckel, both from MITs school of engineering, along with Technical Advisor and Editor Francis OSullivan and Editor Rebecca Marshall-Howarth who were instrumental in producing this report. OSullivan is responsible for the symposium program going forward.

MITEI Associates Program/Symposium Series

The MITEI Associates Program/Symposium Series is designed to bring together groups of energy experts to examine, analyze, and report on critical and timely energy policy/technology issues with implications for near-term actions. The centerpiece of the program is a one-day symposium in which invited experts, under Chatham house rule, discuss the selected topic. Topical white papers, which are sent to the participants in advance, are commissioned to focus and inform the discussion. The information from these white papers is supplemented by work from graduate students, who generate data and provide background information.

Potential symposium topics are solicited from MITEI members and are provided to the Steering Committee for consideration. Four MITEI Associate members Cummins, EDF, Entergy, and Hess support the program with a two-year commitment and serve on the Steering Committee.

After each symposium, a report is prepared and published, detailing the proceedings to include a range of findings and a list of recommendations. Two students are assigned to each session. They serve as rapporteurs for the symposium and focus their masters theses on topics identified from the symposium. MITEI also develops and implements an outreach rollout to inform policy makers and the media of the results.

This report is the sixth in the series, following Retrofitting of Coal-Fired Power Plants for CO2 Emissions Reductions, Electrification of the Transportation System, Managing Large-Scale Penetration of Intermittent Renewables, and Prospects for Bi-Fuel and Flex-Fuel Light-Duty Vehicles, and Role of Enhanced Oil Recovery in Accelerating the Deployment of Carbon Capture and Sequestration.

MITEI Author

Richard Schmalensee Professor

Sloan School of Management