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

  • Download CV

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; sustainable finance; 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 its sequel Power After Carbon (Harvard University Press, 2020). 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). "Testimony before Boston City Council on Carbon-Free Boston", Boston City Council
  • Fox-Penner, P. (In Press). "Hewlett’s 2017 Climate Strategy Refresh Memo to the Hewlett Foundation", The Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation
  • 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., Hledik, R., Lueken, R., Lee, T., Cohen, J. (2020). "Decarbonized Resilience: Assessing Alternatives to Diesel Backup Power",
  • Fox-Penner, P., Hledik, R., Lubershane, A. (2020). "FixedBill+: Making Rate Design Innovation Work for Consumers, Electricity Providers, and the Environment",
  • Fox-penner, P. (2020). "Power After Carbon", Harvard Univ Pr
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2020). "COVID-19 will slow the global shift to renewable energy but can’t stop it", The Conversation
  • Wing, J. (2020). Foreword. In Elisabeth, Montgomery. (Eds.), "The Banality of Greed: An American Businessman’s Essay on Ethics", Self
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2020). "Power After Carbon Building a Clean, Resilient Grid",
  • Cleveland, C., Ashmore, J., Cleveland, J., Plastrik, P., Barnhart, A., Fox-Penner, P., Coffee, J. (2020). "More urgency, not less: The COVID-19 pandemic’s lessons for local climate leadership", Institute for Sustainable Energy
  • Fox-Penner, P., Cassandras, C., Kelly, H. (2019). "Integrating Electric Mobility Systems with the Grid Infrastructure",
  • Ren, Z. (2019). "Melting the Ice Lessons from China and the West in the Transition to Electric Vehicles: The Critical Role of Public Charging Infrastructure", Independently Published
  • Walsh, M., Fox-Penner, P., Zheng, K., Pollack, A., Cleveland, C. (2019). "Carbon Free Boston: Energy Technical Report", Institute for Sustainable Energy
  • Maron, A., Zheng, K., Walsh, M., Fox-Penner, P., Cleveland, C. (2019). "Carbon Free Boston: Offsets Technical Report", Institute for Sustainable Energy
  • Cleveland, C., Stanton, L., Woods, B., Martin, A., Fortune, D., Walsh, M., Castigliego, J., Perez, T., Galante, E. (2019). "Carbon Free Boston: Social Equity Report", Institute for Sustainable Energy
  • Hatch, J., Lam, T., Fox-Penner, P. (2019). "Assessing the Potential for US Utility Green Bonds",
  • Cleveland, C., Walsh, M., Castigliego, J., Perez, T., Fox-Penner, P., Zheng, K., Pollack, A. (2019). "Carbon Free Boston: Summary Report", Institute for Sustainable Energy
  • (2018). "Spread of self-driving cars could cause more pollution – unless the electric grid transforms radically", The Conversation
  • Fox-Penner, P., Hatch, J., Cleveland, J., Silano, M. (2018). "Cities and Climate Change: Strategic Options for Giving",
  • Fox-Penner, P., Gorman, W., Hatch, J. (2018). "Long-term U.S transportation electricity use considering the effect of autonomous-vehicles: Estimates & policy observations", Energy Policy, 122 203-213
  • 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 55-55
  • (2017). "Why solar ‘microgrids’ are not a cure-all for Puerto Rico’s power woes", Salon
  • (2017). "An Admiring but Cautionary Open Letter to France’s Political Establishment", Huffington Post
  • (2017). "Think Local, Not Global!", Commonwealth Magazine
  • Consultant, G., Broehm, R., Ledgerwood, S., Fox-Penner, P., Taylor, . (2015). "Market Power and Market Manipulation in Energy Markets From the California Crisis to the Present",
  • Zarakas, W., Sergici, S., Bishop, H., Zahniser-Word, J., Fox-Penner, P. (2014). "Utility Investments in Resiliency: Balancing Benefits with Cost in an Uncertain Environment", The Electricity Journal, 27 (5), 31-41
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2014). "Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure for Urban Energy Systems", The Solutions Journal 48-54
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2013). "The Future of US Energy Utilities, AD", The Oxford Energy Forum 18-18
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2011). "Mission, Structure, and Governance in Future Electric Markets: Some Observations", The Oregon Law Review
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2002). "The Regulation of Competition in Wholesale Electric Power Markets", Energy Law Journal, 23 (2), 281-348
  • Fox-Penner, P. (2001). "Easing Gridlock on the Grid, , : Electricity Planning and Siting Compacts",
  • Fox-Penner, P., Basheda, G. (2001). "A short honeymoon for utility deregulation", ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 17 (3), 51-56
  • Fox-Penner, P. (1997). "Dear Mr. President ... : An open letter on electricity restructuring",
  • Palmer, K., Simpson, D., Toman, M., Fox-Penner, P. (1993). "Electricity fuel contracting: Relationships with coal and gas suppliers",
  • Cleveland, C., et al., ."Carbon Free Boston: Summary Report", Green Ribbon Commission
  • Fox-Penner, P."The Green New Deal: A Goal, Not a Date",
    Research Presentations
  • Fox-Penner, P. Mobility and Infrastructure Introduction, HUCE Event, Boston University Questrom School of Business, 2019
  • Fox-Penner, P. , Gorman, W. , Hatch, J. Long-Term Transportation Electricity Use Considering Autonomy: Estimates and Policy Observations, General Motors, 2019
  • Fox-Penner, P. The State Agenda in Climate and Energy Policy, National Association of State Energy Officials, 2019
  • Fox-Penner, P. EV Public Infrastructure and Policies: Selected Results from Melting the ICE and Carbon-Free Boston, Bloomberg New Energy Future of Mobility Summit, 2019
  • Fox-Penner, P. Electric Vehicle Charging in China and the U.S., BNEF Mobility Forum, San Francisco, CA, 2019
  • Fox-Penner, P. Decarbonizing the World’s Energy System: The Five+ Engineering Miracles Needed, Boston University Questrom School of Business, 2019
  • Fox-Penner, P. Panelist, Engineering EXCOM Retreat, Boston, MA, 2019
  • Fox-Penner, P. Bloomberg Workshop on Coal Plant Retirements, Bloomberg Philantrophies, 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, NAESCO Conference, 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, Clean Energy Ministerial 2018 Malmö/Copenhagen, 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 University DC Alumni Event, 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, Promoting Digital Innovations to Enable Clean Energy Systems, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018
  • Fox-Penner, P. Utility of the Future, Solar Power Northeast, SEIA and SEPA, 2018
    Awards and Honors
  • 2018, Invited to moderate invitiation only energy conference for Saudi Crown Prince, MIT
  • 2018, Personally briefed Bill Gates, bcG3