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Chen-Huang Sustainability Series Lecture

Thursday, May 16, 2024
4:00pm to 6:00pm
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Baxter Lecture Hall
Clean Electricity and the Path to Net Zero: Methods and Insights
Jesse D. Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Andlinger Center for Energy & Environment, Princeton University,

The Chen-Huang Sustainability Series Lectures are Caltech's flagship energy and sustainability public events, bringing leaders in energy science, technology, policy, economics, and media to Caltech to share their experience and perspectives with our academic community. The series was initiated by George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry Nate Lewis and is presented under the auspices of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech. All Caltech students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff—from all six divisions— are invited to attend these enriching events.

Clean Electricity and the Path to Net Zero: Methods and Insights

The electricity sector is the linchpin in any path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity sector emissions must fall faster and deeper than any other sector, while simultaneously expanding to power greater shares of energy consumption in transportation, heating, industry and the production of clean fuels. How do we build the grid we need to decarbonize the economy? Prof. Jenkins will share insights from a decade of research on low-carbon electricity systems and pathways to a net-zero America and discuss novel methods for optimization-based energy system planning models with unprecedented resolution. 

Jesse D. Jenkins is an assistant professor and macro-scale energy systems engineer at Princeton University with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment. He leads the Princeton ZERO Lab (Zero-carbon Energy systems Research and Optimization Laboratory), which focuses on improving and applying optimization-based energy systems models to evaluate and optimize low-carbon energy technologies, guide investment and research in innovative energy technologies, and generate insights to improve energy and climate policy and planning decisions. Dr. Jenkins earned a PhD and masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked previously as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, and spent six years as an energy and climate policy analyst prior to embarking on his academic career. Dr. Jenkins served on the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine expert committee on Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, was a principal investigator and lead author of Princeton's landmark Net-Zero America study, and leads the REPEAT Project (, which provides regular, timely, and independent environmental and economic evaluation of federal energy and climate policies as they're proposed and enacted. Dr. Jenkins has delivered invited testimony to multiple Congressional committees and his research is frequently featured in major media outlets. He regularly provides technical analysis and policy advice for non-profit organizations, policy makers, investors, and early-stage technology ventures working to accelerate the deployment of clean energy. 

For more information, please contact Mona Eadington by email at [email protected].