Our research explores, assesses, and proposes technological, policy, and market approaches to contribute to the societal goal of striking a balance between environmental sustainability, affordability, and reliability in electricity systems.
Our research contributes to advance understanding of:
- The impacts of capital investment decisions in power generation technologies and the possibilities and advantages of designing flexible policy mechanisms that take into account the decision making process and real options valued by those regulated.
- The economic, environmental and reliability potential of renewable energy and emissions control technologies particularly related to their operational flexibility (e.g. use different fuels, vary their power output levels), the uncertainty that affects their outcomes, and the implications for the systems where they are integrated.
- The life-cycle, global, and human dimensions of the energy-sustainability challenge.
Decisions about investments in electricity generation and the policies affecting them are hard because these investments have:
- Large capital costs.
- A lifetime that spans many decades.
- Multiple alternatives.
- Uncertain long-term environmental, economic, and reliability outcomes.
- They create path dependencies, such that decisions made today have a profound impact on future choices.
The work of our lab aims at contributing to the building blocks necessary for this analysis with a particular emphasis on the value of flexibility. It focuses on the decisions that policy makers, private companies, and citizens face regarding capital investments and operations of electricity infrastructure, and in the methods available to analyze and improve these decisions.