The impacts of climate change are undeniable, inequitable, and largely irreversible. To mitigate the impact of climate change, cities, states, and countries are making commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in various ways. While the electric power system remains one of the most significant sources of GHG emissions, it is also critical to societal function. To support the transition of our legacy power system to a sustainable, reliable, and equitable system we will need to change the way we interact with energy in our lives. Major shifts in world paradigm (agricultural, industrial, and internet revolutions) have occurred over decades, but the current shift in energy is happening far more rapidly. There is also increasingly coupled interactions among energy, food and water systems, with a reliance on modern communications and computational resources.
Sweeping (and massive) investments are required, and in many regions commitments are being made to effect significant change. However, there are many challenges in moving forward; for example, what is the “optimal” mix of generation sources and capacities for a particular region? How do system operators manage a complex infrastructure in real-time, based almost entirely on weather patterns that are not under human control? How will climate change impact these weather variables that we will rely on? Adding to the challenge is the knowledge that we will need to make decisions based on a deeply uncertain future. Many of the realities of the situation will not be revealed until it is too late to act. These new risks and paradigms require creative system-level strategies based on state of the art decision making and optimization under uncertainty.
Our group is focused on enabling the transition to sustainable energy systems. We develop and test new ways of planning, exploring, and operating future systems. Our approach is interdisciplinary, combining engineering, data and computational methods, and tools of applied mathematics to better understand the interactive forces of infrastructure systems, socioeconomic systems, and stakeholder engagement in decision making. The complexity and evolution of these systems and the earth’s climate lead to challenging technical, operational and economic problems. You can see some of our active research areas, our publications, and our funders.