The first of a series of briefings on environmental and energy-related issues for Massachusetts legislators given by MIT's Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) was held at the State House on May 7. About 40 people, including 12 state representatives and senators, attended the briefing on "Creating a Consumer-Friendly Electricity Market in New England."
A team of researchers led by Dr. Marija Ilic and Dr. Stephen Connors of the Energy Laboratory outlined technology and policy options to help the Commonwealth avoid California's energy-related problems. Those options include real-time metering and pricing to allow customers to avoid energy usage during peak cost periods, as well as new regulatory options that could level out demand curves and prevent the energy use spikes.
Graduate student Jason Black of the Engineering Systems Division also participated along with Dr. Ilic, a senior research engineer, and Dr. Connors, director of the Analysis Group for Regional Electricity Alternatives.
"CEI's research portfolio is continually generating new knowledge about important environment, energy and sustainability related issues that, if properly presented to the right audience, have the potential to impact the policymaking process," said Dr. Matthew Gardner, education coordinator for CEI. "We see it as our responsibilty to devise new ways to get the knowledge generated by our researchers into the hands of people and organizations that can benefit from access to such knowledge."
The briefing was sponsored by CEI and the Energy Caucus, which is chaired by Sen. Susan Fargo. It was the first in a new series of briefings designed to relay relevant knowledge about environmental and energy issues to policy makers. CEI hopes to organize about two such briefings each year.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 23, 2001.