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The Precourt Energy Seminar: "Using Spatial Data to Inform Renewable Energy Transmission Planning," Emily Leslie, Principal, Montara Mountain Energy

The Energy Seminar

Event Details:

Monday, January 22, 2024
4:30pm - 5:20pm PST


Jen-Hsun Huang Building (School of Engineering)

This event is open to:


Abstract: In order to achieve ambitious decarbonization targets, the electric sector is undergoing a massive expansion or renewable energy, storage, and transmission infrastructure. Modeling methods to identify the least-cost resource mix are well-established. However, spatial modeling and planning methods are still emerging. There is a need to identify high-resolution portfolios of future renewabl generation resources in order to enable the electrical grid modeling necessary to ensure reliability. This presentation will focus on methods developed by Leslie and her research teams, as published in PNAS. We will also explore a case study (California Statewide Integrated Resource Plan) where these methods have been applied.

Bio: Ms. Leslie serves as Principal at Montara Mountain Energy, a consulting firm which focuses on the development and application of spatial modeling methods for energy resource planning, as seen in the Princeton Net Zero America and REPEAT Studies, The Nature Conservancy Power of Place initiative, and EER's Annual Decarbonization Perspective and Carbon Free Europe studies. Her methods are applied in infrastructure planning forums such as the California Public Utilities Commission's Integrated Resource Plan proceeding (the state's forum for ensuring the electricity sector meets greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets), and in the CAISO Transmission Planning Process, which determines short- and long-term transmission infrastructure needs, to maintain or improve transmission system reliability in the context of California's long term electricity demand forecast and procurement plans. Her work for the Net Zero America and REPEAT projects helped quantify the implications of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, hailed as the largest climate investment in U.S. history. Her work has been published in journals such as Environmental Research Letters, Energy and Climate Change, and PNAS, and it has been covered in The Economist, The New York Times, and The Guardian, and on the John Oliver show. Ms. Leslie graduated from Stanford in 2006 with an M.S. in Engineering, with research supported by the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP).


More about the Energy Seminar: 

The Energy Seminar has been a mainstay of energy engagement at Stanford for nearly 20 years and is one of the flagship programs of the Precourt Institute for Energy. We aim to bring a wide variety of perspectives to the Stanford community – academics, entrepreneurs, utilities, big businesses, and more. We're proud to have hosted some of the biggest names in the energy world as well as those just starting out. 

Seminars take place most Mondays during the academic year and typically have an audience of 100+ attendees. Anyone with an interest in energy is welcome to join one seminar or all of them! You can enjoy seminars in the following ways:

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