Francis O’Sullivan

Director, Energy Initiative, MIT, United States

Dr. Francis O’Sullivan is Director of Research and Analysis for the MIT Energy Initiative, and is a Senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His work is focused on energy technologies, policy, economics and business models. His current research is focused on the evolution of the electric power sector including the impact that large-scale solar PV and wind deployment can have on wholesale energy markets; the potential roles for advanced storage technologies at the transmission, distribution and behind-the-meter levels of the power system; the interdependency of electricity and natural gas infrastructure and markets; and on how new business models and financing structures are supporting the rise of distributed energy resource adoption.

He has written and spoken widely on these topics, and has made presentations to the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the United States Energy Information Administration, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Brookings Institute, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Governors’ Association, the National Association of Regulated Utility Commissioners, at CERAWeek, the American Physical Society, and to a range of other academic, policy and industry forums. Dr. O’Sullivan regularly comments on energy issues in leading media outlets including the New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times and National Public Radio. He is an author of the 2011 MIT Future of Natural Gas Study, and the 2015 MIT Future of Solar Energy Study, and two 2016 MIT whitepapers examining the residential solar market and energy cleantech investment: Solar Securitization: An Innovation in Renewable Energy Finance and Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation. Dr. O’Sullivan served as a senior advisor to the US Department of Energy as it develops its 2016 power sector-focused Quadrennial Energy Review. He is a member of the National Academies’ Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability and has served as a member of the Secretary of Energy’s working group on methane emissions along with being a member of the scientific advisory board for the Environmental Defense Fund’s methane emissions campaign.

Along with his work with federal agencies and NGOs, Dr. O’Sullivan also serves as a senior advisor to McKinsey & Company. Prior to his joining MIT, Dr. O’Sullivan was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he worked on investment analysis and risk management, strategic planning, and operations in the private equity, oil and gas, electric utility, and renewable energy sectors.

Dr. O’Sullivan received his Ph.D., E.E., and S.M. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his B.E. degree from the National University of Ireland, all in electrical engineering.