Energy Innovation

Spotlight on
Energy Innovation

Energy Innovation Project
Executive Summary

Unlocking Energy Innovation

Unlocking Energy Innovation: How America Can Build a Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System
Professor Richard K. Lester
Professor Davd M. Hart
MIT Press, 2011.



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.