On December 15, 2016, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) released an in-depth research report providing guidance for the evolving electric power sector. The MITEI report, The Utility of the Future, proposes major regulatory, policy, and market overhauls to electric power systems around the world for efficient integration of distributed and centralized energy resources. Through a set of analysis-based recommendations, the comprehensive study has two overarching proposals: the development of a comprehensive system of prices and regulated charges that apply to all network users, and the removal of inefficient barriers that currently impede the integration and competition of distributed and centralized resources. To learn more about MITEI’s report, read on!

The report’s principal recommendations will level the playing field for distributed and centralized energy resources while increasing efficiency across the system for cost savings and carbon emissions reductions. Further recommendations include improving mechanisms for compensating distribution network companies and incentives to incorporate distributed resources efficiently.

In the global shift towards a low-carbon energy future, consumers have increasing options to employ distributed energy resources— small-scale power technologies such as solar, wind, and energy storage. Electric power systems around the world need a path forward to plan and respond to this proliferation of technology. The report emphasizes the need for urgent action, as consumers currently face unprecedented choices in how they receive and manage their electric consumption. Improvements in the near term can mitigate great risks in system reliability and costs of inefficiencies.

The Utility of the Future brings together a study team of international leaders with a deep understanding of the industry’s complexities to provide recommendations for consumers. The study was developed in collaboration with the Institute for Research in Technology at Comillas Pontifical University (IIT- Comillas). To learn more about MITEI’s recommendations, read the full Utility of the Future report here.