Dr. Katrina M. Kelly-Pitou

  • Research Associate, Resilient Energy and Power Systems, Swanson School of Engineering
  • Manager, Strategy and Business Development, Center for Energy and Energy GRID Institute

Katrina currently holds dual roles as both a Research Associate in Resilient Energy and Power Systems at the Swanson School of Engineering, also acting as Manager of Strategy and Business Development at the Center for Energy at the University of Pittsburgh. She has joined Pitt to work alongside Dr. Gregory Reed in the development of next generation grid solutions for the US, the state of Pennsylvania, and the City of Pittsburgh. Her work takes a systems approach and works on understanding both the policy architecture and financial mechanisms that are needed to deploy resilient and sustainable energy systems.

Katrina currently helps to lead the research on the University’s “District Energy” research grant (in partnership with the Department of Energy/NETL, supported by RK Mellon), and on the “Comparative Energy Governance for Smart Cities” project, conducted in partnership with the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate (supported by the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities, and Climate).

Prior to her appointments at Pitt, Katrina spent four years acting as the programme manager for the Resilience initiative at the World Energy Council.  Hired as a post-doctoral fellow in addition to her managerial role, Katrina contributed as a lead author to the first series of four reports looking to define adaptation in partnership with the IEA, Swiss Reinsurance, and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Publications stemming from the program include “Cyber resilience”, “Managing and Financing Extreme Weather Risk”, “The Energy-Water-Food Nexus”, and the final report prepared for the 2014 World Energy Congress, “Financing Resilient Energy Infrastructure”.

Katrina’s background is a combination of environmental economics and power systems. Her PhD is in Energy Economics and Politics from the University of Nottingham, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. Her thesis, published as “Paradigm shifts in energy: examining the impact of ideas on the implementation of low-carbon policies in the EU and the US”, took a comparative historical institutional approach to investigate how the EU was able to shift towards an ecological-governance growth model with the end goal of a carbon market. As such, her research focuses heavily on understanding environmental constraints and the economic optimization of both retrofit and newly proposed energy infrastructures.

Katrina has acted as a topical advisor to governmental institutions including the House of Lords, the European Commission, the UNFCCC, and the Department of Energy amongst others. Her research helped to contribute to the COP21 discussions, and to the previous Rio+20 Summit.   Katrina supports both the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office and the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development in Energy policy formation in both Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, and as such, feeds into the global consortium on “Just transitions” currently run by the London School of Economics. She is a contributor to Energy Journal, International Energy Technologies, and IEEE. She is a member of Women in Economics and also the Society for Women in Engineering.