11.165J | Fall 2021 | Undergraduate, Graduate
Urban Energy Systems and Policy


[DM] = MacKay, David J.C., 2009. Sustainable Energy—Without the Hot Air, 1st ed. UIT Cambridge Ltd. ISBN: 9780954452933. 

Session 1: Introduction 

[DM] chapters 1, 2

Bill Gates. “Climate Change and the 75% Problem.” GatesNotes, October 17, 2018.

Nikayla Jefferson and Leah C. Stokes. “Our Racist Fossil Fuel Energy System.” BostonGlobe.com, July 13, 2020.

Cameron Hepburn, Brian O’Callaghan, Nicholas Stern, Joseph Stiglitz, and Dimitri Zenghelis (2020). “Will COVID-19 Fiscal Recovery Packages Accelerate or Retard Progress on Climate Change?” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 36(S1): S359–S381.

Session 2: Cities and Decarbonization

James H. Williams, Ryan A. Jones, Ben Haley, Gabe Kwok, Jeremy Hargreaves, Jamil Farbes, and Margaret S. Torn (2021). “Carbon-Neutral Pathways for the United States.” AGU Advances 2(1): e2020AV000284.

Felix Creutzig, Giovanni Baiocchi, Robert Bierkandt, Peter-Paul Pichler, and Karen C. Seto (2015). “Global Typology of Urban Energy Use and Potentials for an Urbanization Mitigation Wedge.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(20): 6283–6288.

Angel Hsu, Niklas Höhne, Takeshi Kuramochi, Mark Roelfsema, Amy Weinfurter, Yihao Xie, Katharina Lütkehermöller, Sander Chan, Jan Corfee-Morlot, Philip Drost, Pedro Faria, Ann Gardiner, David J. Gordon, Thomas Hale, Nathan E. Hultman, John Moorhead, Shirin Reuvers, Joana Setzer, Neelam Singh, Christopher Weber, and Oscar Widerberg (2019). “A Research Roadmap for Quantifying Non-state and Subnational Climate Mitigation Action.” Nature Climate Change 9(1): 11–17.

Dan Tong, Qiang Zhang, Yixuan Zheng, Ken Caldeira, Christine Shearer, Chaopeng Hong, Yue Qin, and Steven J. Davis (2019). “Committed Emissions from Existing Energy Infrastructure Jeopardize 1.5 °C Climate Target.” Nature 572(7769): 373–377.

[skim] Samuel A Markolf, Inês M. L. Azevedo, Mark Muro, and David G Victor. “Pledges and Progress: Steps toward Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in the 100 Largest Cities across the United States.” Technical report, Brookings Institution, October 2020.

Session 3: Equitable, Just Transition

Shalanda H Baker (2019). “Anti-Resilience: A Roadmap for Transformational Justice within the Energy System.” Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 54: 1–48.                           
Sandeep Pai, Kathryn Harrison, and Hisham Zerriffi. “A Systematic Review of the Key Elements of a Just Transition for Fossil Fuel Workers.” Working paper, Smart Prosperity Institute, April 2020.

Adam Wernick. “Green Groups Grapple with a History of Racism and Exclusion.” The World, Public Radio International, August 11, 2020.

[skim] Daniel Raimi, Aurora Barone, Sanya Carley, David Foster, Emily Grubert, Jake Higdon, Michael Kearney, David Konisky, Jennifer Michael, Gilbert Michaud, Sade Nabahe, Nina Peluso, Molly Robertson, and Tony Reames. “Policy Options to Enable an Equitable Energy Transition.” Technical report, Resources for the Future, April 2021 

Session 4: Personal Transport

[DM] chapters 3, 20, technical chapter A

Daniel A. Mazmanian (2009). “Los Angeles’ Clean Air Saga—Spanning the Three Epochs.” Chapter 4 in Daniel A. Mazmanian and Michael E. Kraft (eds.), Toward Sustainable Communities: Transition and Transformations in Environmental Policy. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262134927.

John Lippert. “California Has a Plan to End the Auto Industry as We Know It.” Bloomberg, August 3, 2015.

Mimi Sheller (2015). “Racialized Mobility Transitions in Philadelphia: Connecting Urban Sustainability and Transport Justice.” City & Society 27(1): 70–91.

Arianna Skibell. “EPA Faces Mounting Calls for Stronger Tailpipe Rule.” Greenwire, August 27, 2021.

Session 5: Transport Systems   

[DM] chapter 5, technical chapter C

Aiofe O’Leary (2019). “Aviation.” Chapter 16 in Michael B. Gerrard and John C. Dernbach (eds.), Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, 1st ed. Environmental Law Institute. ISBN: 9781585761975

D. S. Lee, D. W. Fahey, A. Skowron, M. R. Allen, U. Burkhardt, Q. Chen, S. J. Doherty, S. Freeman, P. M. Forster, J. Fuglestvedt, A. Gettelman, R. R. De León, L. L. Lim, M. T. Lund, R. J. Millar, B. Owen, J. E. Penner, G. Pitari, M. J. Prather, R. Sausen, and L. J. Wilcox (2021). “The Contribution of Global Aviation to Anthropogenic Climate Forcing for 2000 to 2018.” Atmospheric Environment 244: 117834.

Stefan Gössling and Andreas Humpe (2020). “The Global Scale, Distribution and Growth of Aviation: Implications for Climate Change.” Global Environmental Change 65: 102194.

Session 6: Transportation Impact

Robert D. Bullard (2003). “Addressing Urban Transportation Equity in the United States.” Fordham Urban Law Journal 31(5): 1183.      

Tim Gore. “Confronting Carbon Inequality: Putting Climate Justice at the Heart of the COVID-19 Recovery.” Policy paper, Oxfam International, September 2020.

[skim] Cambridge Systematics (2009). Moving Cooler: An Analysis of Transportation Strategies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Urban Land Institute,. ISBN: 9780874201185

Session 7: Building Energy Use

[DM] chapters 7, 9, 11, technical chapter E

Deborah A. Sunter, Sergio Castellanos, and Daniel M. Kammen (2019). “Disparities in Rooftop Photovoltaics Deployment in the United States by Race and Ethnicity.” Nature Sustainability 2(1): 71–76.

Maximilian Auffhammer. “Consuming Energy While Black.” Blog post, Energy Institute at Haas, June 22, 2020.

Session 8: Buildings Policies

Elizabeth Shove (2018). “What Is Wrong with Energy Efficiency?” Building Research & Information 46(7): 779–789, October 2018.

Arsalan Heydarian, Claire McIlvennie, Laura Arpan, Siavash Yousefi, Marc Syndicus, Marcel Schweiker, Farrokh Jazizadeh, Romina Rissetto, Anna Laura Pisello, Cristina Piselli, Christiane Berger, Zhuxuan Yan, and Ardeshir Mahdavi (2020). “What Drives our Behaviors in Buildings? A Review on Occupant Interactions with Building Systems from the Lens of Behavioral Theories.” Building and Environment 179: 106928.

Ian G. Hamilton, Alex J. Summerfield, Robert Lowe, Paul Ruyssevelt, Clifford A. Elwell, and Tadj Oreszczyn (2013). “Energy Epidemiology: A New Approach to End-Use Energy Demand Research.” Building Research & Information 41(4): 482–497.

Tianzhen Hong, Da Yan, Simona D’Oca, and Chien-Fei Chen. “Ten Questions Concerning Occupant Behavior in Buildings: The Big Picture.” Building and Environment 114: 518–530.

Carl Blumstein, Betsy Krieg, Lee Schipper, and Carl York (1980). “Overcoming Social and Institutional Barriers to Energy Conservation.” Energy 5(4): 355–371.

Session 9: Energy Efficiency

[DM] chapters 19, 21, 22

Jonathan M. Cullen and Julian M. Allwood (2010). “The Efficient Use of Energy: Tracing the Global Flow of Energy from Fuel to Service.” Energy Policy 38(1): 75–81.

Jonathan M. Cullen and Julian M. Allwood (2010). “Theoretical Efficiency Limits for Energy Conversion Devices.” Energy 35(5): 2059–2069.

Vaclav Smil (2005). Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties. MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262693240

[skim] Saul Griffith, Sam Calisch, and Laura Fraser. “The Rewiring America Handbook: A Guide to Winning the Climate Fight.” Technical report, Rewiring America, July 2020.           

Session 10:  Industry, Making Stuff

[DM] chapter 15, technical chapter H

Bill Gates. “Here’s a Question You Should Ask about Every Climate Change Plan.” GatesNotes, August 27, 2019.

Max Åhman, Lars J. Nilsson, and Bengt Johansson (2017). “Global Climate Policy and Deep Decarbonization of Energy-Intensive Industries.” Climate Policy 17(5):634–649.

Jeffrey Rissman, Chris Bataille, Eric Masanet, Nate Aden, William R. Morrow, Nan Zhou, Neal Elliott, Rebecca Dell, Niko Heeren, Brigitta Huckestein, Joe Cresko, Sabbie A. Miller, Joyashree Roy, Paul Fennell, Betty Cremmins, Thomas Koch Blank, David Hone, Ellen D. Williams, Stephane de la Rue du Can, Bill Sisson, Mike Williams, John Katzenberger, Dallas Burtraw, Girish Sethi, He Ping, David Danielson, Hongyou Lu, Tom Lorber, Jens Dinkel, and Jonas Helseth (2020). “Technologies and Policies to Decarbonize Global Industry: Review and Assessment of Mitigation Drivers through 2070.” Applied Energy 266: 114848.

David Roberts. “Cities Are Beginning to Own Up to the Climate Impacts of What They Consume.” Vox, July 1, 2019.

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, University of Leeds, University of New South Wales, and Arup Partnerships. “Consumption-Based GHG Emissions of C40 Cities.” Technical report, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, 2019.

Session 11: Fossil, CDR, and Nuclear

[DM] chapters 23–24

David Roberts. “Sucking Carbon out of the Air Won’t Solve Climate Change.” Vox, June 14, 2018.

David W. Keith, Geoffrey Holmes, David St Angelo, and Kenton Heidel (2018). “A Process for Capturing CO2 from the Atmosphere.” Joule 2(8): 1573–1594.

Ryan Orbuch. “Stripe’s First Carbon Removal Purchases.” Blog post, Stripe, May 18, 2020.

Nestor A. Sepulveda, Jesse D. Jenkins, Fernando J. de Sisternes, and Richard K. Lester (2018). “The Role of Firm Low-Carbon Electricity Resources in Deep Decarbonization of Power Generation.” Joule 2(11): 2403–2420.

Session 12: Solar, Wind

[DM] chapters 4, 6, 8, technical chapters B, D

David J. C. MacKay (2013). “Could Energy-Intensive Industries Be Powered by Carbon-Free Electricity?” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 371(1986): 20110560.

David J. C. MacKay (2013). “Solar Energy in the Context of Energy Use, Energy Transportation and Energy Storage.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 371(1996): 20110431.

Session 13: More Renewables

[DM] chapters 10, 16, 18

William H. Schlesinger (2018). “Are Wood Pellets a Green Fuel?” Science 359(6382): 1328–1329.

U.S. Department of Energy. “Computing America’s Offshore Wind Energy Potential.” Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, September 2016.

U.S. Department of Energy. “Simple Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Calculator Documentation” NREL Energy Analysis. Accessed August 23, 2022.

Lazard. Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis 14.0 (PDF), page 20. October 2020.

Session 14: Distributed Resources

[DM] chapters 25–27

Micah S. Ziegler, Joshua M. Mueller, Gonçalo D. Pereira, Juhyun Song, Marco Ferrara, Yet-Ming Chiang, and Jessika E. Trancik (2019). “Storage Requirements and Costs of Shaping Renewable Energy Toward Grid Decarbonization.” Joule 3(9): 2134–2153.

Diane Cardwell and Andrew Roberts. “The Biggest, Strangest ‘Batteries.’” The New York Times, June 3, 2017.

Lazard. Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis 6.0 (PDF), page 20, October 2020.    

Session 15: Food and Carbon Sinks

[DM] chapter 13

[skim] Global Carbon Project (GCP). “Global Methane Budget.” Technical report, July 2020.

Diana Pape, Jan Lewandrowski, Rachel Steele, Derina Man, Marybeth Riley-Gilbert, Katrin Moffroid, and Sarah Kolansky. “Managing Agricultural Land for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation within the United States” (PDF - 4 MB). Technical report, ICF International, July 2016.

Xiongxiong Bai, Yawen Huang, Wei Ren, Mark Coyne, Pierre-Andre Jacinthe, Bo Tao, Dafeng Hui, Jian Yang, and Chris Matocha (2019). “Responses of Soil Carbon Sequestration to Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices: A Meta-analysis.” Global Change Biology 25(8): 2591–2606.

Ray Tomalty. “Carbon in the Bank—Ontario’s Greenbelt and Its Role in Mitigating Climate Change.” Technical report, David Suzuki Foundation, August 2012.

A. M. Nahlik and M. S. Fennessy (2016). “Carbon Storage in US Wetlands.” Nature Communications 7(1): 13835.

Session 16: 

[Midterm exam—no readings assigned]

Session 17: “The Grid” System

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Energy Primer: A Handbook of Energy Market Basics (PDF - 10.5 MB), chapters 1, 3, 5, 6. Technical report, 2015.

Session 18: “The Grid” Continued

Keith Dennis, Ken Colburn, and Jim Lazar (2016). “Environmentally Beneficial Electrification: The Dawn of ‘Emissions Efficiency.’” The Electricity Journal 29(6): 52–58.

Drew Shindell and Christopher J. Smith (2019). “Climate and Air-Quality Benefits of a Realistic Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels.” Nature 573(7774): 408–411.

U.S. Department of Energy. “Electrification Futures Study: A Technical Evaluation of the Impacts of an Electrified U.S. Energy System.” NREL Energy Analysis. Accessed August 23, 2022.

Session 19: Regulation

Kenneth E. Train (1991). Optimal Regulation: The Economic Theory of Natural Monopoly, chapter 1. The MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262200844

José A. Gómez-Ibáñez (2006). Regulating Infrastructure: Monopoly, Contracts, and Discretion, chapter 2. Harvard University Press. ISBN: 9780674022386

Ari Peskoe (2010). “A Challenge for Federalism: Achieving National Goals in the Electricity Industry” (PDF - 4.1 MB). Missouri Environmental Law & Policy Review 18: 209–281.

Scott Hempling (2012). “Promoting Diversity and Prohibiting Discrimination: Is There a Regulatory Obligation to Society?” (PDF).

Session 20: Ownership

Richard F. Hirsh (2013). “Fifteen Years Later: Whither Restructuring in the American Electric Utility System?” Technology’s Stories 1(1) 

Michael Wara (2016). “Fostering Competition in the 21st Century Electricity Industry.” Harvard Environmental Law Review 40(2): 41–48.

John E. Kwoka, Jr. (2005). “The Comparative Advantage of Public Ownership: Evidence from U.S. Electric Utilities.” Canadian Journal of Economics / Revue canadienne d’économique 38(2): 622–640.

Herman K. Trabish. “A Utility in the Making: The Municipalization of Boulder, Colorado.” Utility Dive, August 27, 2014.

Herman K. Trabish. “IOU, Co-op or Muni? Experts Debate the Creation of Public Utilities.” Utility Dive, September 16, 2015.

Herman K. Trabish. “California IOU Rates Found to be Twice the Cost of Muni Power.” Utility Dive, June 17, 2015.

Herman K. Trabish. “As 100% Renewables Goals Proliferate, What Role for Utilities?” Utility Dive, April 2, 2019.

David Roberts. “A Major US Utility is Moving toward 100% Clean Energy Faster than Expected.” Vox, December 5, 2018.

Session 21: Scales and Choices

Michael Wara (2016). “Competition at the Grid Edge: Innovation and Antitrust Law in the Electricity Sector.” New York University Environmental Law Journal, 25(2): 176–222.

Ari Peskoe (2021). “Is the Utility Transmission Syndicate Forever?” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3770740.

Vote Solar, MnSEIA, and the Institute for Local Self Reliance. “Minnesota’s Solar Gardens: The Status and Benefits of Community Solar” (PDF - 3.7 MB) Technical report, May 2019.

[skim] Richard J Campbell. “Customer Choice and the Power Industry of the Future” (PDF). CRS Report R43742, Congressional Research Service, January 2016.

[skim] Rocky Mountain Institute. “The Economics of Load Defection: How Grid-Connected Solar-Plus-Battery Systems Will Compete with Traditional Electric Service, Why it Matters, and Possible Paths Forward.” Technical report, Rocky Mountain Institute, 2015.

Session 22: Possible Futures

Tineke van der Schoor, Harro van Lente, Bert Scholtens, and Alexander Peine (2016). “Challenging Obduracy: How Local Communities Transform the Energy System.” Energy Research & Social Science 13: 94–105.

Efrain O’Neill-Carrillo, Isaac Jordán, Agustín Irizarry-Rivera, and Rafael Cintrón (2018). “The Long Road to Community Microgrids: Adapting to the Necessary Changes for Renewable Energy Implementation.” IEEE Electrification Magazine 6(4): 6–17.

David Hsu (202). “Straight out of Cape Cod: The Origin of Community Choice Aggregation and Its Spread to Other States.” Energy Research & Social Science 86: 102393.

[skim] Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga and Christopher Knittel. The Utility of the Future (PDF - 11 MB). Technical report, MIT Energy Initiatve, 2016.

Sessions 23–26

[No readings assigned]

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