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Energy Institute Lecture Series: Dr. Jill Engel-Cox

Scenarios for Future Energy Systems

The next presentation in the Texas A&M Energy Institute Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Jill Engel-Cox, a senior Research Advisor at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and former Director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA), will be held on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CDT (UTC -5:00) in the Frederick E. Giesecke Engineering Research Building (GERB) Third Floor Conference Room and through a Zoom Meeting. The topic will be “Scenarios for Future Energy Systems.”


Energy systems in the U.S. and globally have continuously changed and expanded over the past 200 years, from animal and biomass-based energy to electricity and petroleum for heat, light, transportation, and industries of all kinds. The most recent two decades have experienced a significant increase in the use of natural gas, solar, and wind energy, as well as energy efficiency, due to both technology breakthroughs and public policy.  With history as a guide, we can expect an ongoing transformation of our energy system in future decades, including increased electrification and advanced energy technologies, ideally helping meet societal goals of reducing pollution, improving the quality of human life, and preserving ecosystems. 

Scenario modeling is an important tool for planning energy system transformations toward specific goals—such as net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, 100% renewable energy, or energy security—particularly when there are multiple options, conflicting objectives, and significant unknowns about a path forward. This presentation will review the history of energy transitions and the future policy and societal objectives on energy. Then it will summarize multiple scenario studies of future energy systems, with a focus on “100% studies” and the challenges to meeting those objectives. It will also outline a few of the technologies being researched now that could advance the ongoing energy transition.


Dr. Jill Engel-Cox is a senior Research Advisor at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and former Director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA). Over her 30-year career, Dr. Engel-Cox has been an engineer, researcher, program manager, and strategic planner for a diverse suite of renewable energy, clean technology, and environmental programs in the United States, Asia, and Middle East. Her first job was climbing smokestacks in Los Angeles, followed by leading industrial pollution prevention programs for small and medium-sized businesses and R&D laboratories in the United States and internationally. She has led international research programs, strategic planning, and technology assessments for renewable energy and environmental sustainability research programs, including working extensively in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. She also teaches a course in energy issues for the University of Colorado Denver Global Energy Management program and industrial processes and environmental communications courses at Johns Hopkins University Engineering for Professionals Program.  She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University, and Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin.