Peter Fox-Penner

Professor of the Practice, Markets, Public Policy, and Law Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy
  • Phone 617-353-4298
    Questrom School of Business
    Rafik B. Hariri Building
    595 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

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Peter Fox-Penner is a Professor of Practice in the Questrom School of Business and the Director of Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy.  His research and writing interests are in the areas of electric power strategy, regulation, and governance; energy and climate policy; and the relationships between public and private economic activity, including corporate social responsibility.  He is the author of Smart Power, a book widely credited with foreseeing the future transformation of the power industry now used and cited all over the world, as well as other books in this area.  He also teaches courses on sustainable energy and electric power in the Questrom School of Business.  The work of the BU Institute for Sustainable Energy and Peter’s projects through the Institute can be viewed here.  In addition, since 2014 he has been a Senior Policy Scholar at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy.

Peter has led a career that includes leadership in academia, government, and the private sector.   From 1996 through 2015, Peter was a Principal specializing in energy and regulated industry matters at The Brattle Group, where he remains an Academic Advisor.   During his time there, Peter was on the firm’s Executive Committee, directed the Washington Office, and then became the firm’s longest-serving Chairman.  During his tenure at the firm he helped the Brattle Group grow from a small regional consulting boutique into a globally-recognized brand with offices all over the world.  He also played an integral role in designing a unique corporate governance framework by which the firm has become an intergenerational, self-governed, privately-held firm.  During this period his work was quoted as authoritative in a Supreme Court Decision and he participated extensively in litigation involving Enron and the California electricity crisis

From 1994-1996 Peter was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy unit (EERE) and a Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  Among other duties during this period, he led policy and budget formulation at EERE, implemented the largest part of the first official U.S. Climate Change Action Plan and the path breaking Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle, represented the U.S. government in California’s power deregulation and parallel federal efforts, and defended the federal government against the unsuccessful 1994 shutdown.

Prior to 1994 Peter was a Vice-President at Charles River Associates, where his work centered on electric utility policy and regulation, and a research engineer at the Illinois Governor’s Office of Consumer Services, one of the original utility consumer advocates first established in the U.S., and a researcher at the University of Illinois’ Energy Research Group (ERG).  ERG was one of the original three interdisciplinary energy research centers in the United States and helped contribute to the first formal national energy policy adopted by the U.S., President Nixon’s Project Independence.

Since 1996, Peter has also been actively engaged in outside business and civic activities.  He currently serves as Chief Strategy Advisor to Energy Impact Partners, as a board member of an energy efficiency company, Lighting Retrofit, Inc., and as an advisor to EOS Energy Storage.  He has previously been on the board of, or been an Advisor to, The Solar Foundation, the Center for National Progress, the Brookings Institution Energy Program, the United Nations Foundations, the Energy Foundation, the Global Energy Group, Gridpoint, and other groups.   In 1977, Peter co-founded one of the original anti-nuclear-power U.S. groups, the Prairie Alliance and in 2000 he co-founded Environment 2004, an environmental political group that was subsequently merged into the League of Conservation Voters.  He has also been a policy advisor to numerous presidential campaigns.  

Peter’s outside interests include music and sound recording.   He is a rank amateur R&B and jazz drummer and the founder of a series of sound recording studios that have become Pogo Records.

  • Fox-Penner, P. (In Press). "Prepared Statement Before the California Public Utilities Commission En Bank Hearing in Retail Choice", California Public Utilities Commission
  • Fox-Penner, P. (In Press). "Hewlett’s 2017 Climate Strategy Refresh Memo to the Hewlett Foundation", The Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation
  • Fox-Penner, P., Eckles, R., Guard, C. (In Press). "Bulk Power Markets in hte United States: Challenges and Recommendations", ISE Working Paper to the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Fox-Penner, P. (In Press). "Testimony before Boston City Council on Carbon-Free Boston", Boston City Council
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2018). The Implications of Vehicle Electrification and Autonomy for Global Decarbonization. In Varun Sivaram (Eds.), "Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems", Council on Foreign Relations 55
  • Fox-Penner, P., Gorman, W., Hatch, J. (2018). "Spread of self-driving cars could cause more pollution – unless the electric grid transforms radically", The Conversation
  • Fox-Penner, P., Kates-Garnick, B., Mueller, B. (2017). "Think Local, Not Global!", Commonwealth Magazine
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2017). "An Admiring but Cautionary Open Letter to France’s Political Establishment", Huffington Post
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2017). "Why solar ‘microgrids’ are not a cure-all for Puerto Rico’s power woes", Salon
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2016). ""Energy, Growth and Altruism: Forty Years On"", Mitchell Foundation Blog
  • Fox-Penner, P., Chang, J., Hagerty, M., Gorman, W., Cash, D., Berwick, A. (2016). "Clean Energy Resource Options for Massachusetts to Meet the Greenhouse Gas Goals in the Global Warming Solutions Act", The Brattle Group
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2016). "Innovation, Meet Deployment: Climate Policy's Twin Imperatives", Huffington Post
  • Fox-Penner, P., Gary, T., Shaun, L., Romkaew, B. (2015). "Market Power and Market Manipulation in Energy Markets: From the California Crisis to the Present", Public Utilities Reports, Inc
  • Tsuchida, B., Sergici, S., Mudge, B., Gorman, W., Fox-Penner, P., Schoene, J. (2015). "Comparative Generation Costs of Utility-Scale and Residential-Scale PV in Xcel Energy Colorado’s Service Area", The Brattle Group
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2014). "Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure for Urban Energy Systems", The Solutions Journal
  • Fox-Penner, P., Zarakas, W., Sergici, S., Bishop, H., Zahniser-Word, J. (2014). "Utility Investments in Resiliency: Balancing Benefits with Cost in an Uncertain Environmen", The Electricity Journal, 27 (5)
  • Shavel, I., Fox-Penner, P., Weiss, J., Ruiz, P. (2014). "Exploring Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT, Part III: The Role of Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, and Combined Heat & Power", The Brattle Group
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2014). "Presentation with NRRI on: Prospects for Radical Change in the U.S. Electric Industry: What Can Utilities and State Utility Regulators Do Today?",
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2014). "Presentation to the APPA Annual Board Meeting on: Public Power in the Age of Smart Power",
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2013). "The Future of US Energy Utilities, AD", The Oxford Energy Forum
  • Shavel, I., Weiss, J., Fox-Penner, P., Ruiz, P. (2013). "Exploring Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT Part II: Future Generation Scenarios for Texas", The Brattle Group
  • Fox-Penner, P., Harris, D., Hesmondhalgh, S. (2013). "A Trip to RIIO in Your Future?", Public Utilities Fortnightly
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2013). "Presentation at the CA Energy Efficiency Industry Council on: The Future of Electric Utility Business Models: The View from 2013",
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2012). "Renewable Energy Standards: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It", Climate Progress
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2012). "Moderated discussion at the Clean Energy Summit on: Empowering Consumers with Options",
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2012). "Session Chair at the Aspen Energy Policy Forum on: Electricity: Seeking Progress in an Uncertain Environment: Regulatory issues",
  • Fox-Penner, P., Chang, J. (2012). "Presentation to the State Grid Energy Research Institute on: The Future of Electric Utilities in the U.S. and China",
  • Fox-Penner, P., Wharton, J. (2011). "SureWest’s Transformation and Its Lessons for Today’s Electric Utilities", The Brattle Group
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2011). "Invited Participant, PG&E/RMI Electricity Roundtable: Exploring Innovative Strategies for a Distributed Energy Future",
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2011). "Presentation to Enel on: The End of the Traditional Utility",
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2011). "Presentation at the Electricity Policy Research Group on: The Future of Utilities: Business Models and Strategy",
  • Fox-Penner, P."Power After Carbon", pending
  • Fox-Penner, P."Korean Electric Power Company Executive Education Course", Korea Electric Power Corporation
    Research Presentations
  • Fox-Penner, P.Bloomberg Workshop on Coal Plant Retirements, Bloomberg Philantrophies, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.Boston ESG Utilities Panel Discussion, Society of Chartered Financial Analysts, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.Carbon-Free Boston Presents Research to Green Ribbon Commission, Green Ribbon Commission/Barr Foundation, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.How the Shifting Utility Paradigm Affects the Value of Energy Efficiency in a Distributed Energy Future, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.Designing Climate Solutions for Post Carbon Cities, Security and Sustainability Forum, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.The Future of Energy Tech - Industry Roundtable, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.CleanTech Capital Day Panel: Storage and Batteries, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.GEIDCO/Boston University Collaboration, BU Institute for Sustainable Energy, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.Green Ribbon Commission and ISE Webinar on the CFB Initiative, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.New Horizons in Clean Electric Power, Boston Universtity, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.MIT Energy Financing and Innovative Business Models, MIT, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.Opportunities for Digital Innovations in Mobility and Smart Cities, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.Utility of the Future, SEIA and SEPA, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P.Burstein Scholar in Residence Lecture, Temple Israel, 477 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02215, 2017
  • Fox-Penner, P.Electric Systems Digitalization: Real World Examples from the EIP Portfolio, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, 2017
  • Fox-Penner, P.The California Energy Crisis and its Legacy, QST PL 882 - Public Policy Analysis, Questrom HAR 316, 2017
  • Fox-Penner, P.The Changing Utility Industry, Questrom Execuitve Education, Questrom, HAR 418, 2017
  • Fox-Penner, P.Technology and Regulatory Systems in Power Industry, Harvard University, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, 2017
  • Fox-Penner, P.The Changing Utility Industry, Boston University EMBA, Questrom School of Business, 2017
  • Fox-Penner, P.Executive Panel Session: Customer, Grid or Data, Oracle, Orlando, FL, 2017
    Awards and Honors
  • 2018, Personally briefed Bill Gates, bcG3
  • 2018, Invited to moderate invitiation only energy conference for Saudi Crown Prince, MIT