Utility of the Future

Principal Investigator: Bob Armstrong
Collaborator: Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga

The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) Utility of the Future (UoF) study seeks to evaluate how distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar power, electric vehicles, energy storage, and demand response may affect the utility sector. This research will have significant implications for regulation and market design. The IPL is assisting in disseminating research results to regulators.

Impact: In May 2016, the UoF research team presented preliminary results at the Council on Foreign Relations roundtable event. In July, the research team briefed the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy, which helped shape their “Winter Package” of new electricity sector regulations. In June 2016, the team briefed Commissioner Judith Judson and her staff at the MA Department of Energy and Resources, comparing findings from their report and the Department’s “State of Charge” report on energy storage. The team was able to offer insights to help the Department craft new state policies on energy storage. In September, the team met with staff from NYSERDA and the NY Governor’s Office to give them preliminary results and get feedback on the report ahead of its release. This meeting has led to ongoing dialog with New York State officials and a second technical briefing at NYSERDA in Albany in November 2016. In December, the team met with Eurelectric the sector association that represents the common interests of the electricity industry at a European level. The report was finalized in December 2016. It was pre-released on December 9th at Vlerick University in Brussels and formally released on December 15th at the National Press Club in Washington DC. During this trip, the team met with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the Edison Electric Institute, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and House Science Committee staff, and presented at the MIT alumni club. In January 2017, the Utility of the Future team met with Massachusetts state officials including Secretary Matthew Beaton of the Executive office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and Angela O’Connor, Chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to brief them on the Utility of the Future study, and explore opportunities for future collaboration.

IPL Support: During the report writing stage of this project the IPL arranged a roundtable discussion with staff from the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives to make them aware of the report. The IPL reviewed the executive summary and recommendations chapter of the report and provided comments. The IPL produced a one page summary of the report for the Congressional meetings and assisted the Washington DC office in arranging meetings on the Hill.

Find out more at the project website: https://energy.mit.edu/research/utility-future-study/