Utility of the Future

The Utility of the Future brings together a diverse consortium of leading international companies to address emerging issues in the electric power sector, and provides a neutral framework within which to evaluate the economic, regulatory, and technological impacts of the ongoing evolution of the power sector worldwide. The study team from MIT and IIT-Comillas combines a breadth of skills in quantitative economic and engineering modeling, with a sophisticated understanding of the complex interactions in the electric power industry. The team includes faculty with decades of experience in advising governments, corporations, and institutions on regulation and market design. The consortium members—industry stakeholders and other market participants—bring valuable real-world expertise and experience to the study.

The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) has a long history of identifying research topics that lend themselves to a consortium approach. Such topics benefit from aggregating a diverse set of perspectives on a set of critical issues facing the industry at large. This “commons” approach benefits all of the partners, while enabling each member to individually benefit from an increased understanding of the unique implications to their organization.

This comprehensive study has sought to address the technology, policy, and business models shaping the evolution of the delivery of electricity services. It examines several possible scenarios of the future of the electricity sector in order to inform utilities, regulators, policy makers, and new market actors attempting to navigate a rapidly changing industry.

Our objective is to evaluate new and emerging technologies and combinations of these technologies, such as rooftop solar, distributed generation, and demand response implemented in the distribution sector. In addition, we look at how the distributed and the centralized power systems will be coordinated in the delivery of energy services.

Over the course of the multi-year study, we have sought to answer key questions such as:


Phil Giudice, CEO, President, and Board Member at Ambri, on the challenges and benefits for the electric grid coming from new energy technologies.

Anuja Ratnayake, Director of Emerging Technology Strategy at Duke Energy, on how partnering with academia enables Duke Energy to test future scenarios from an impact perspective.

Miguel Sanchez-Fornie, Director of Global Smart Grids at Iberdrola, on how the unique position of academia can help industry and policymakers.

Watch the full livestream of the Utility of the Future report release from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C on December 15, 2016.


Principal Investigators

Faculty Committee

TOMAS GOMEZ Professor Comillas
WILLIAM HOGAN Professor Harvard

Project Directors

Richard Tabors Visiting Scholar

Research Team

Ashwini Bharatkumar Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Michael Birk SM, Technology and Policy Program (’16)
Dr. José Pablo Chaves Universidad Pontificia Comillas
Ignacio Herrero Research Assistant Universidad Pontificia Comillas
Sam Huntington SM, Technology and Policy Program (’16)
Max Luke SM, Technology and Policy Program (’16)
Pablo Rodilla Assistant Researcher Universidad Pontificia Comillas
Richard Tabors Visiting Scholar
Nora Xu SM, Technology and Policy Program (’16)

Research and Project Advisors

Pablo Frías Professor Universidad Pontificia Comillas
Javier Reneses Professor Universidad Pontificia Comillas
Michel Rivier Professor Universidad Pontificia Comillas
Álvaro Sánchez Professor Universidad Pontificia Comillas

Consortium Members: Sponsors

Consortium Members: Participants

Consortium Members: Observers

Paul and Matthew Mashikian