79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA, 02138
Project Manager, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
Nidhi Santen's research seeks to improve methods used by governments and industry to evaluate energy technology policy and sustainable energy infrastructure investment decisions.
In her most recent work, she developed a novel modeling tool to inform decision-makers about socially optimal levels of clean electricity R&D and electricity generation investments under uncertain future technological change. Her model integrates economic theory about the process of energy innovation, key engineering details of the electric power system, and emerging modeling methods for uncertainty and risk analysis.
Nidhi's current projects focus on the emerging U.S. distributed electricity sector and smart grid technology deployment. In the first project, she is assessing state-level electricity distribution regulatory policy design for its impact on technology innovation and carbon-free distributed energy resource deployment. In the second project, she is collaborating with Belfer Center Cyber Project fellows to study the status of ICT operations and cyber-security standards on distribution grids, with an aim to develop improved decision support tools for cyber security-related grid investments.
Nidhi holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Systems from MIT, an M.P.A. in Environmental Policy and M.S. in Environmental/Atmospheric Science from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a B.A. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Professionally, she has worked as an air pollution permitting specialist and federal climate policy associate for a large electric utility in South Texas. She has also held various science and energy policy intern and staff positions with U.S.-based NGOs in Washington, D.C., and Texas including Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, and the Alliance to Save Energy.