Women in Power: Melissa C. Lott


Photo © Mary Christenberry Lott

Melissa C. Lott has worked for more than a decade to improve our understanding of the impacts that come with changes in the energy system. She is a student member of IEEE and the IEEE’s Power & Energy Society “Women in Power.”

Over the past decade, Lott’s work has included a unique blending of technology, economics, and policy in the field of energy systems research. An active writer and public speaker, Lott is the primary author of many technical articles, reports, and white papers. But, perhaps most unique are the hundreds of articles that she has published on topics related to energy and the environment, in large part as a lead author at Scientific American’s energy and environment blog, “Plugged In.”

As an energy systems engineer, Lott builds tools to help in quantifying and understanding the impacts of our energy systems, including the potential impacts of energy system and policy proposals. In turn, she hopes that this information will be used to more effectively design and implement energy sector strategies as the world moves toward more sustainable and accessible energy systems. The majority of her work to date has focused on the electricity system, including energy efficiency, smart grid technologies, and energy storage.

Lott discovered her passion for the energy systems engineering field while researching the co-impacts of energy supply technologies in New Zealand in a partnership between the University of California, Davis and University of Canterbury in Christchurch. She then turned this passion into a career that has spanned industry, government, and academia across the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.

More recently, in 2011, after completing a dual-Masters program at the University of Texas at Austin in engineering and public affairs, Lott was selected as the first US Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) from the UT Cockrell School of Engineering. She went on to work as the Lead of Energy Modelling and Simulation for the Program Analysis and Evaluation Office at the US Department of Energy in Washington, DC. From DOE, Lott moved to an assignment at the International Energy Agency, Paris, France where she served as the primary author of the IEA’s Technology Roadmap: Energy Storage. In 2013 Lott was named a “30 under 30 in Energy”by Forbes Magazine for her work in both the U.S. and Europe as a key energy researcher.

Today, Lott continues to consult for organisations around the globe on key questions related to the evolution of the energy system in the face of developing innovations, policies, and trends including her role as an advisor on Alstom’s International Science and Technology Committee. Lott is also actively pursuing her PhD in Sustainable Energy Resource Engineering at University College London’s Institute for Sustainable Resources in the United Kingdom.

Lott is a current Engineer-in-Training (EIT) and an active amateur radio operator (W5MCL).