Distributed Generation and Sustainability, EGP at MIT in Boston

Published on Sunday, 2 October 2016

Enel Green Power’s experience in retail and mini-grid at a Leadership LAB at the MIT Sloan School of Management

The MIT Sloan School of Management has organised an Action Learning Program called “Leadership Lab: Leading Sustainable Systems” in Boston, with the participation of students with excellent educational and professional backgrounds from all over the world. 

The program is held by Professor Peter Michael Senge, systems scientist and the founder of the Society for Organizational Learning, and focuses on innovations that produce sustainable systems. Within the course of study, students are given the possibility to develop projects in businesses facing challenges of sustainable innovation.

“Enel Green Power proposed two projects in the Retail and Mini-Grid areas and both attracted strong interest from the students.”

The program kicked off last 1 October with a workshop held in Boston, where students had the chance to meet directly with the sponsors of the project.

The topics presented by the Retail unit are based on evidence that the energy paradigm is evolving and that major changes in the chain of value can be expected in the upcoming years, with a movement toward distributed generation.

New technologies, new digital solutions and new business models must be tested to guide this process of evolution and allow the definition of sustainable energy models and of a new positioning for “vertically integrated” utilities.

One expected output has to do with the evolution of the energy paradigm all over the world, concentrating on drivers that could lead some countries to move onto the market before others (for example, existing grid conditions, energy infrastructure, rates, the population and levels of wealth). Others concern alternative business models that can be predicted and how to measure the added value for the final client, players and other stakeholders concerned at various levels of the value chain.

The challenge of sustainability was presented in the Mini-Grid area with regards to the development of methodologies and instruments for an analysis of the socio-economic potential of rural communities, which could host off grid systems. Knowing the potential of development for these communities becomes key to understanding the potential clients of these systems and their current and future “ability to pay”.

Furthermore, the project includes the definition of parameters and KPIs that can be monitored during the construction and the management of the mini-grid to evaluate the actual level of development and identify possible actions that can sustain socio-economic development and thus the community’s consumption.