Francis O'Sullivan

Director of Research and Analysis
MIT Energy Initiative


Higher coal use in Asia could increase water stress

Higher coal use in Asia could increase water stress

Aerosol emissions would slow warming but suppress rainfall.

April 29, 2016Read more
Francis O'Sullivan


Dr. Francis O’Sullivan is the Director of Research and Analysis for the MIT Energy Initiative, and is a Senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His work focuses on a range of topics related to energy markets, financing, technologies and regulation. His current research focuses on unconventional oil and gas resources, LNG markets, the energy-water nexus, solar energy and the integration of advanced storage in the power sector.

Dr. O’Sullivan’s expertise includes the production dynamics and associated economics of North America’s shale gas and tight oil resources, and global LNG and pipeline contracts pricing. He also has extensive experience in solar energy investment financing, tax equity investing for renewables, and the market integration and pricing of advanced storage in the power sector.

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. He is a lead author of both the 2011 MIT Future of Natural Gas Study, and the 2015 MIT Future of Solar Energy study.

Dr. O’Sullivan is a Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and is member of the National Academies’ Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability. He has also served as a member of the Secretary of Energy’s working group on methane emissions and as a member of the scientific advisory board for the Environmental Defense Fund’s methane emissions campaign.

Prior to joining MIT, Dr. O’Sullivan was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he worked on engagements that included 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.


The Salient Distribution of Unconventional Oil and Gas Well Productivity

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March 2, 2016
After boom and bust, MIT analyst sees "defining moment" for US shale
Francis O'Sullivan, MITEI's Director of Research and Analysis, gives his perspectives on the future of U.S. shale at IHS CERAWeek.

February 25, 2016
SolarCity’s Gigafactory
A $750 million solar facility in Buffalo will produce a gigawatt of high-efficiency solar panels per year and make the technology far more attractive to homeowners.

January 15, 2016
No More Blackouts: How New York is Protecting the Power Grid
MITEI Director of Research Francis O'Sullivan discusses broad applications for microgrids.

January 12, 2016
Renewed Solar Subsidies: A Missed Opportunity
MITEI Director of Research Francis O'Sullivan discusses subsidies making solar energy an economically viable alternative to carbon-based power generation

December 22, 2015
The Salient Distribution of Unconventional Oil and Gas Well Productivity
The economic sustainability of production from shale gas and tight oil resources is coming into sharper focus as oil and gas prices remain low, relative to the prices that spurred extensive drilling programs in recent years

December 2, 2015
When the wind blows
The Economist talks to MITEI Director of Research and Analysis Frank O’Sullivan about renewable power

November 24, 2015
A debate over how to brighten solar power's future in Florida
Lower-cost panels and more accessible financing make solar more viable

November 6, 2015
Sunshine revolution: the age of solar power
MITEI Director of Research and Analysis Francis O’Sullivan on how solar power is poised to tackle climate change and shake up the electricity industry

September 29, 2015
For rooftop solar, one decision could change everything
California’s solar incentives are being revamped

September 22, 2015
Five unexpected states that are growing renewable energy in the the U.S.
MITEI Director of Research and Analysis Frank O'Sullivan talks with Forbes about states looking to maximize their solar potential

August 19, 2015
Google's Project Sunroof: How it could help you save with solar power
Google's new online service shows consumers how much energy they can save by turning to solar energy

July 30, 2015
MIT idea: Reward solar generation instead of installation
Incentives for solar generation, rather than installation, could drive the market faster.

July 30, 2015
There may be 500,000,000 solar panels on US roofs with Hillary Clinton at the helm
Clinton aims for 700% increase in solar capacity by 2020.

July 28, 2015
Hillary's solar plan: 'Ambitious' but 'doable'
MITEI Director of Research and Analysis Francis O'Sullivan talks to the Washington Examiner about Clinton's newly unveiled climate strategy.

July 13, 2015
Energy synergy: MIT ignites CERAWeek
MIT representatives shared emerging energy technologies at an influential conference rifle with world leaders.

July 9, 2015
Energy Synergy: MIT Ignites CERAWeek
The MIT Energy Initiative plays an integral role in IHS CERA's annual energy gathering

May 6, 2015
Why the best place for solar panels may not be on your roof
MITEI study addresses how best to ensure the spread of solar power so that it proliferates quickly and helps reduce carbon emissions.

May 5, 2015
Solar power is booming. But is it booming fast enough?
Solar capacity is growing around the world. But new studies, including one from the MIT Energy Initiative, suggest it isn't growing quickly enough to meet the world's expanding energy needs and stall the threat of climate change.

May 5, 2015
Shift in U.S. federal solar funding needed for large-scale deployment: report
MIT Energy Initiative report urges U.S. to redirect spending from wasteful solar power tax credits and prepare the electricity grid for large-scale solar energy use

April 23, 2015
Balancing costs and competition
MITEI Director of Research and Analysis Francis O'Sullivan speaks to the New York Times about how renewables stack up against fossil fuels.

February 13, 2014
America's leaky natural gas system needs a fix, study finds
The U.S. natural gas system is letting more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, escape into the air than previously thought, a new study confirms.

February 13, 2014
3 Questions: Francis O’Sullivan on the climate impact of ‘leaky methane’
Researchers find that national estimates of methane emissions have been underestimated over the past 20 years.

October 21, 2013
Evaluating the Risks of Natural Gas
MIT researchers weigh natural gas development options and economic risks for small nations using Cyprus as a case study.

November 30, 2012
Study: 'Fugitive' methane from shale gas production less than previously thought
MIT researchers, using field practices, find emissions from shale gas production to be significantly lower than previous estimates.