Clean Energy Heats Up at Boston University: New Lectures and Research

in Energy & Environment Sector, Finance, Information Systems, School, Sectors, Social Impact, Strategy & Innovation
August 9th, 2010

Lectures on Energy & Environmental Sustainability – Spring 2010 Lineup Announced

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BU School of Management (SMG) faculty and their colleagues across the University are energizing the debate over how best to accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable clean energy solutions, through new research, conferences, and lectures.

See the schedule for the 2010 Boston University Presidential Lectures on Clean Energy and Environmental Sustainability.

See video from the recent School of Management event Smart Grid as a Business Platform: Innovation, Adaptation, and Systems Challenges in the Clean Energy Market



Generating Thought Leadership in the Field

Explains Professor Kulatilaka, “my colleagues and I working at SMG and across the University on clean energy innovation are seeking to leverage and expand our research initiatives in the following key areas:

  1. Research in systems, business models, and smart grid technologies required for the large scale integration of renewables, electric vehicles, and smart buildings into the electric power infrastructure.
  2. Development and commercialization of new and emerging clean energy technologies through entrepreneurial business incubation, education, support and market integration.
  3. Analysis and development of policy initiatives, requisite real-time market developments, incentive arrangements, and regulatory frameworks related to energy, climate, and the environment.”

In summary, Professor Kulatilaka adds, “we expect that exploration into the transformation of the energy ecosystem as smart technology will enable fundamentally new layers in the industry stack to emerge. We’re excited to work with colleagues across academia, and partners in industry, anticipate, navigate, and tap these opportunities.”

The “Synergistic Management of Challenges to Sustainable Energy Adoption”

Assessing the state of clean energy technology development and adoption to date, Professor Kulatilaka explains, “Many environmentally-friendly technologies, when considered in isolation, encounter barriers to widespread adoption.

“For example, wind generated electricity may see its widespread adoption hampered by increasing costs of the fast capacity reserves required to safeguard against wind’s intermittency. Similarly, high penetration of electric vehicles may be checked by the cost of expanding the capacity of requisite distribution network.”

Of the new research he and his colleagues are undertaking, Professor Kulatilaka says, “Our multi-disciplinary team proposes synergistic management of these technologies. For example, coordinated smart charging of electric vehicle (EV) batteries can both mitigate the intermittency of wind power and ease congestion in the distribution network.

“Indeed, many clean energy technologies, including roof top photovoltaics, distributed storage, thermal energy conversion and conservation, offer sustainable solutions when combined with real-time markets enabled by the requisite cyber infrastructure for real-time information.”

“In addition,” he adds, “we propose new business models that use markets and innovative contract forms to connect generators, transmission and distribution (T&D) with end-users. Bridging information gaps, reducing transactions costs, and managing risk, such networked business models can direct investment capital to clean projects, spawn technological innovations and encourage greener end-user behavior.

“Moreover, such business models are key to motivating the evolutionary public policy that will facilitate this critical shift to energy sustainability.”