Associate, 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.
November 13-14, 2014
"Commercializing Second-Generation Biofuels: Scaling Up Sustainable Supply Chains and the Role of Public Policy"
By Joern Huenteler, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program and Nidhi R. Santen, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
The promise, prospects, and public policy trade-offs related to the greater use and production of second-generation biofuels were addressed in an executive session convened by the Harvard Kennedy School on November 13 and 14, 2014. The session attracted more than 25 of the world's leading experts from the fields of policy, science, and business for an intensive two day session. The agenda consisted of three sessions focused on (i) the sustainability of cellulosic supply chains, (ii) government policy options to attract investment and (iii) government policy options to ensure that environmental objectives are met.
September 19-20, 2014
By Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Tolu Odumosu, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age and Nidhi R. Santen, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
Some of America's most distinguished leaders in academia, science, and technology gathered at Harvard on September 19 and 20, 2014, to celebrate the 75th birthday of renowned Harvard scientist Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti — and to discuss the future of innovation in America.
"Electricity Technology Investments under Solar RD&D Uncertainty: How Interim Learning and Adaptation Affect the Optimal Decision Strategy"
By Nidhi R. Santen, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
The authors present a new modeling framework for studying optimal generating capacity and public RD&D investments in the electricity sector under decision-dependent RD&D uncertainty and learning.