CLIMATE ACADEMY

Clean Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction, and Rapid Decarbonization in the PJM Region

February 10, 12pm–1:30pm
This virtual event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

PJM is the Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that operates the wholesale power markets and controls the transmission of electricity in New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and parts or all of twelve other states, which stretch as far south as North Carolina and as far west as Illinois. PJM also coordinates the flow of electricity produced between New Jersey and New York, which has a separate regional power system. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act includes financial incentives that support all sources of carbon-free electricity, promote vehicle and building electrification and efficiency, and subsidize carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Join us for a presentation by Professor Jesse Jenkins, Princeton University, on a recent analysis of how the federal Inflation Reduction Act will impact electricity cost, greenhouse gas emissions, and investments in electricity capacity in the PJM region through 2035 and what additional investments and resources will be needed to deeply decarbonize the region by 2035 while maintaining affordable and reliable electricity.

Meet Our Speakers

Jesse JenkinsPRESENTATION
Jesse 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 SM 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 recently 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 (repeatproject.org), 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.

Mark RodgersMODERATOR
Mark Rodgers is an Assistant Professor in the Supply Chain Management Department of the Rutgers Business School, where he currently teaches Lean Six Sigma, Demand Planning, and Operations Analysis courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His research interests include business process improvement, sustainability, power grid expansion planning, simulation-based optimization, and supply chain analytics. Dr. Rodgers holds a PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Rutgers University, MS degrees in Statistics and Industrial & Systems Engineering from Rutgers University, a MEng in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Practices from Stevens Institute of Technology, and a BS in Ceramics and Materials Science Engineering from Rutgers University. Additionally, he is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. Prior to joining the Rutgers Business School’s faculty, Dr. Rodgers worked in the telecommunications, pharmaceutical, transportation, and management consulting industries in various business process improvement and analytics roles.

Jeanne M. FoxRESPONSE PANEL
Jeanne M. Fox was a Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) from January 2002 until September 2014 and served as its President and a member of the Governor’s cabinet for the first eight years. The NJBPU has regulatory jurisdiction over telephone, electric, gas, water, wastewater, and cable television companies and works to ensure that consumers have access to safe, reliable services at reasonable rates.

Under Ms. Fox’s leadership, NJBPU became a leader among states in developing cutting-edge clean energy policies and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. At her initiation, the NJBPU conducted the first off-shore wind survey in the Western Hemisphere. She also established the Office of Clean Energy and the Board created the first Solar Renewable Credit (SREC) and helped establish the PJM SREC market. As a result, for a number of years New Jersey was second only to California in the number of solar installations. Ms. Fox has received numerous state and national awards for the BPU Clean Energy programs.

Ms. Fox was very active with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) as a member of its Board of Directors; Chair of the Committee on Energy Resources and Environment; Vice Chair of the Committee on Critical Infrastructure. She continues to participate via the NARUC Commissioners Emeritus. She also served as Chair of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Energy Efficiency and Grid Modernization Public Advisory Group; member of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group (HEPG); the National Council on Electricity Policy (NCEP), having served as its chair for five years; the National Regulatory Research Institute Research (NRRI) Advisory Committee; President of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners; member of the National Academy of Science Panels on Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making as well as its Panel on Grid Resiliency; EPRI Advisory Council to the Board of Directors and Executive Committee; Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee; National Petroleum Council and its Emergency Preparedness Committee; and the Tri-State GRID Alternatives Board. She continues to serve on Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Climate Energy Decision-Making Advisory Board and the Rutgers Energy Institute Advisory Group. She is a co-founder of the nonprofit Center for Renewables Integration.

Prior to her appointment to the NJBPU, Ms. Fox served as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region II) and as Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and Energy.

Ms. Fox is currently an Adjunct Professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and at Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. In the past, she was an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences and at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs (formerly Woodrow Wilson).

Ms. Fox graduated cum laude from Douglass College, Rutgers University, and received a JD from the Rutgers University School of Law-Camden. She became a Rutgers University Trustee in 1990 and is currently a Rutgers Trustee Emerita.

Steven GabelSteven Gabel, President and Founder of Gabel Associates, has over 40 years of experience in assisting clients with commercial and policy issues in the energy and environmental industries. Mr. Gabel started the firm in 1993 with the goal of providing a wide range of economic, technical, regulatory, and marketplace advice and analysis. He is an economist with a background in pricing, industrial organization, public policy, and the history of economic thought.

Mr. Gabel assists clients with the analysis and implementation of innovative energy projects that reduce costs and enhance environmental quality. He also provides expert testimony on utility ratemaking, restructuring, power contracting, and policy matters.

Mr. Gabel has been at the forefront of renewable energy policy development in the region. He served on the Governor’s Renewable Energy Task Force for New Jersey, which is the basis for New Jersey’s renewable portfolio standard. He continues to serve on various committees that help structure sound renewable policy and sustainable industry structures.

Mr. Gabel is an active contributor to regulatory and legislative initiatives related to wholesale, retail, and renewable energy markets. He has been involved in PJM issues since the mid-1980s and was directly involved in the transformation of PJM into an Independent System Operator in the mid-1990s. He also possesses an extensive regulatory background. Prior to establishing Gabel Associates, Mr. Gabel was the Director of the Electric Division at the NJBPU and the Director of the Division of Solid Waste Management at the NJDEP.

Abraham SilvermanAbe Silverman returned to government service as the General Counsel and then the Executive Policy Counsel of the NJBPU in early 2019. The NJBPU is the lead energy regulator for the State of New Jersey. At the BPU, Mr. Silverman works on advancing New Jersey’s clean energy agenda, with a special emphasis on carbon policy and market design issues, as well as the A-to-Z of regulating New Jersey’s public water, electric, and gas utilities.

Prior to joining the NJBPU, Mr. Silverman worked for more than a decade at NRG Energy, Inc., ultimately holding the positions of Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Deputy General Counsel. Mr. Silverman got his accidental start as an energy regulator in 2002, when he joined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of General Counsel. Mr. Silverman graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Geology and a BA in English, and then received a JD from The George Washington University School of Law.

Meet the Climate Corps

Angel Alguera, Rutgers Climate CorpsAngel Alguera
I am a first-year Atmospheric Science master’s degree student in the Department of Environmental Sciences, and my work focuses on meteorology and applications of climate change resiliency. My professional interests include severe weather forecasting and community preparedness regarding weather-related disasters. I work with Dr. James Shope at the NJ Climate Change Resource Center to produce applied research and reports relevant to New Jersey stakeholders. I currently assist with climate change data analysis, large dataset management, and report writing.

Daniel GilkesonDaniel Gilkeson
I’m a second-year master’s student in the City and Regional Planning Program with a concentration in environmental planning. As a planner, I hope to build more resilient communities in the face of increased risk due to climate change. With the Climate Change Resource Center, I am working on a project to aid the state in an update of its floodplain buyout program, known as Blue Acres, to be more proactive and comprehensive. Prior to this position, I interned in the Community and Economic Development Office at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Association. I’m also an AmeriCorps alum, having completed a year of service working on affordable housing in Nashville, Tennessee.

Benjamin GoldbergBenjamin Goldberg
I am a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in climate adaptation and resiliency planning, with experience in sustainable food systems. I joined the Climate Corps last summer to help develop a GIS-based food waste recovery tool, and currently support community resilience through flood vulnerability analysis. I hold a B.A. from Middlebury College and a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz.

Surya Jacob, Rutgers Climate CorpsSurya Jacob
I am a graduate student in the Master of City and Regional Planning program at the Bloustein School concentrating in community development, focused on housing, land and finance, as well as pursuing the Real Estate Development/Redevelopment Certification. Prior to Bloustein, I worked as an architect and interior designer in India and Canada and am pivoting towards a career in urban planning to engage in extensive projects at the macro level. My interests include affordable and mixed income housing, urban redevelopment, and housing finance, and I am deeply passionate about climate resilience in community planning. Being part of Climate Corps is a foundational step towards helping to solve equity issues in vulnerable communities along the coastal region.

Vineesh Das Kodakkandathil, RutgersVineesh Das Kodakkandathil
I am an urban planner with five years of professional experience in community-led ecotourism development and land use and environment management planning in ecologically sensitive areas. I have worked on and conducted extensive environmental sensitivity analyses, flood and landslide vulnerability assessments, and human impact assessments with the help of GIS tools. I’m currently pursuing my master’s in City and Regional Planning at Bloustein School with a concentration in Transport Planning and GIS.

Douglas LeungDouglas Leung
I am working with the Climate Change Resource Center to identify vulnerable communities and places affected by climate-induced flooding in coastal New Jersey municipalities. I am a Master of City and Regional Planning candidate at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. As a planner, I want to develop strategies and solve problems affecting our cities and communities that enable more equitable outcomes in housing and transportation. I am also a recent Army veteran, having served as a company commander of recruiting in the northern suburbs of Chicago and as a reconnaissance platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division. For fun, I enjoy weightlifting, running, reading fiction, and board games.

Nihar MhatreNihar Mhatre
I am a master’s candidate in city and regional planning at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, focusing on urban design and land use planning. Before being accepted at Rutgers, I worked as an architect at JD Studio and had my own architectural practice, Vastu Insights. My research interests revolve around designing and developing climate change adaptation and resilience strategies to promote equity in urban landscapes. Having the opportunity to work on real-world projects through Climate Corps will be an essential step in the development of my understanding of addressing climate change issues in vulnerable regions.

Justin MorrisJustin Morris
Justin is a master’s student at Rutgers University studying discovery informatics and data sciences. He is working under Professor Mark Rodgers to develop an optimization model that will act as a decision support tool for university financial investments with the end goal of eliminating Rutgers’ scope 2 emissions. He is excited to apply his background in data analytics and mathematical programming to help the university fight climate change.

Josephine O'GradyJosephine O’Grady
I am a first-year student in the Master of Public Policy program. Through the Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (C2R2) certification, I am focusing a significant portion of my graduate coursework on topics including coastal geomorphology, environmental justice, and hazard mitigation planning. Before beginning my studies at the Bloustein School, I received my bachelor’s degree in public health from Kean University, where I first became interested in how coastal dynamics shape lived experiences. I previously served as an intern at the New Jersey State Policy Lab and currently work for the Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) team.

Jessica Parineet Jessica Parineet
I am a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the Bloustein School with a strong interest in climate change policy and related topics. In my previous work, I gained experience in a number of dimensions of climate change issues through carbon capture storage research, urban heat island research, and community level engagement as I am currently on the Student Advisory Board for the Rutgers Office of Climate Action. I am excited to expand on my interests in environmental justice and local level resilience planning through my involvement in the Climate Corps.

Dillon Patel Dillan Patel
I am a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Environmental Planning and International Development. I have previously worked as an economist performing cost-benefit analysis and conducting monitoring and evaluation for renewable energy in developing countries. I have also spent a summer in western Massachusetts mapping stormwater infrastructure and working with planners to identify suitable places for green stormwater infrastructure.

Moira Sweeder, Rutgers Climate CorpsMoira Sweeder
I am a graduate student enrolled in the Master of City and Regional Planning program at the Bloustein School. My concentration is environmental planning with a focus on coastal resilience. Before pursuing my master’s degree at Rutgers, I studied sustainability at Stockton University. During this time, I interned for the PSEG Institute of Sustainability Studies, the Jacques Cousteau National Estuary Research Reserve, and NJ Audubon. I am thrilled to now be a part of the Climate Corps, researching coastal resilience as a part of the Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) team.

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