Ensuring a supply of clean, affordable, reliable energy for the future is perhaps the greatest challenge of the 21st century. Solving the problems of global climate change, worldwide energy-supply vulnerabilities, and rapidly expanding demand will require us to accelerate the introduction of new energy technologies and to deploy them on a very large scale.
Pressing needs exist for more efficient technologies for electricity storage; new services to help industrial, commercial, and residential users manage energy consumption intelligently; and better strategies for minimizing environmental impacts of energy supply, transport, and use. We also need improved technologies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide, along with more robust mechanisms to protect against energy-supply interruptions and damage to energy infrastructures. Deploying these innovations on the scale necessary will require massive commitment of capital and possibly also far-reaching behavioral change over the coming decades.
At the Industrial Performance Center, our research focuses on energy innovation systems at the local, national, and international scales. To overcome bottlenecks to innovation downstream of the R&D stage, we take into consideration the complex backdrop of incentives, regulations, markets, and public and private interests against which development, demonstration, early adoption, and diffusion of new energy technologies take place.
Joint MIT-Japan White Paper: Compatibility of Nuclear and Renewables with Grid Stability, Economics and Deregulation The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and several Japanese organizations (University of Tokyo, Central Research Institute for Electric Power, Institute of Energy Economics of Japan and the Tokyo Institute of Technology) have initiated a U.S.-Japan Joint Study of the Future of Nuclear Energy. This includes joint studies on how to integrate nuclear and renewables into a low-carbon electricity grid in a deregulated electricity market.
As large advanced industrial countries Japan and the United States face similar challenges. The U.S. and Japan are the two largest advanced economies with a mixture of nuclear, renewables, and fossil electric generating systems. They have the technical, political and economic capabilities to develop a low-carbon energy economy and large incentives to work together to accelerate progress and minimize costs. One of the initial products of this cooperative effort is this joint what paper that lays out the challenges and potential solutions for an economic secure low-carbon electricity supply system. The paper is in English and Japanese.
The IPC and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) held five roundtable discussions on regional strategies to accelerate the transition to a lower-carbon energy economy in 2013-2014. The roundtables engaged utility executives, advanced energy companies and regulators at MIT, in San Antonio, Texas, Aspen, Colorado, New York and Boston (click links to see discussion summaries).