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Institutions, conflicts, and political economy in renewable energy integration: Case of China, and thoughts for India

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One of the most pressing issues for the growth of renewable energy is grid integration, with numerous systems experiencing curtailment (forced spillage) as penetrations rise. In China, some regions have experienced over 40% curtailment of wind energy, attributed to both technical issues and regulatory realities. Furthermore, these challenges are taking place amidst widespread market-oriented reforms and pilots.

A public talk and discussion with Michael Davidson, PhD candidate in engineering systems, MIT, included presentation of results from extensive fieldwork across China as well as modeling results of the effect of different institutions on wind outcomes in Northeast China. Additionally, some thoughts will be shared following initial fieldwork in India on similar topics.

Michael Davidson is a PhD candidate in engineering systems at the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and a researcher with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Michael studies the engineering implications and institutional conflicts inherent in deploying renewable energy at scale, particularly in systems with emerging electricity markets. His dissertation project focuses on integration challenges in China’s wind sector, using a combination of engineering-economic modeling and qualitative interviews to understand the impact and mechanisms of market transitions. Michael holds an S.M. in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a B.S. in mathematics and physics and B.A. in Japanese studies from Case Western Reserve University.

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