The project assesses the economic and environmental impacts of scaling-up low-carbon technologies. Assessments of future energy generation should be evaluated on their feasibility not only at local scales, but also at the needed continental to global-wide deployment scales. The Energy-at-Scale project relies on a substantial experience and expertise of researches at the MIT Joint Program to identify challenges, hazards, and potential barriers to low-carbon options deployed at continental to global scales – and in doing so provide guidance toward economically viable solutions. Such issues include: investment requirements, market penetration, macroeconomic costs, impacts on international trade, interlinkages between different technological options, predictability and synchronicity of intermittent renewable energy, water resources and quality, and environmental impacts of renewable energy deployment. Scaling up low-carbon technologies and practices entails significant costs and public acceptance. Even though a number of technologies have been commercialized over isolated locations and regional scales, they pose other risks (e.g. nuclear safety), face resource limits (hydro-power) or intermittency issues (solar and wind power), offer difficult trade-offs (food or biofuel) or involve considerable lifestyle changes (alternative commuting).
2019 Energy Workshop - Agenda