Associate Director
Aaron Burdick

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Aaron Burdick

Aaron Burdick

Aaron Burdick joined E3 in 2019 and helps E3 clients solve technical and policy challenges related to renewable energy integration. He joined E3 from utility Pacific Gas & Electric, where he led the development of PG&E’s 2018 Integrated Resource Plan and provided leadership on decarbonization efforts and renewable energy strategy. Before attending graduate school, Aaron spent four years at energy consultancy ICF International. He has also conducted energy analysis and provided strategic advice to non-profit environmental organizations.

Aaron sees climate change as the defining issue of our generation and one that will impact all who come after us. As someone who loves complex, interdisciplinary challenges with direct real-world impacts, Aaron finds developing climate solutions in the energy sector a natural fit. He was drawn to E3 both for its thought leadership and the breadth of its involvement in all sides of the energy transition.

An accomplished nature photographer and poet, Aaron hails from a musical family and is currently teaching himself to play the mandolin.

Education: MS, civil and environmental engineering, atmosphere and energy, Stanford University; BS, environmental studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Projects

Integrated Resource Plan | California Public Utilities Commission, 2021

E3 has provided comprehensive technical and advisory support to the Energy Division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in its administration of the state’s IRP program, mandated by the passage of SB 350 in 2016.  E3 worked with CPUC staff to develop the structure of the IRP program including a three-year modeling cycle in which Staff prepares a system-wide plan that informs the California Independent System Operator (CAISO)’s annual Transmission Planning Process (TPP) and informs Load-Serving Entities integrated resource plans in alternate years.

E3 has helped the CPUC design an optimal “Preferred System Plan” for the combined utilities that incorporates the resource procurement plans of the LSEs and complies with the state’s clean energy policy requirements. In the 2020-2021 cycle, the policy requirements considered include a 60% RPS by 2030 and SB 100 by 2045, and a statewide greenhouse gas emissions target of 38 million metric tons (MMT) by 2030, while capturing the operational and reliability challenges encountered at high penetrations of variable renewable generation. E3 also supported the Energy Division’s development of a mid-term reliability order requiring the procurement of 11.5 GW of effective capacity by 2026. As part of this process, E3 evaluated dozens of scenarios reflecting alternative assumptions about load forecasts and electrification, resource costs, the availability of offshore wind and out-of-state wind, the ability of end-use loads to operate flexibly, and a variety of other input parameters.

Net Zero Carbon Pathways Study | Omaha Public Power District, 2021

To support the development of its 2021 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) engaged E3 to perform a comprehensive study on various pathways for OPPD to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. With a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, OPPD sought a study to understand different pathways to achieve their target emissions, reliability, costs, and generation. E3’s study consisted of three primary phases: multi-sector modeling using the E3 PATHWAYS model to develop multiple electricity sector demand forecasts; reliability and resiliency analysis using the E3 RECAP model; and portfolio optimization using the E3 RESOLVE model to develop cost-optimal electricity portfolios that achieved both net-zero carbon and target reliability by 2050. E3 found that OPPD can achieve net zero while balancing affordability and reliability and that all net zero pathways require a cessation of coal generation and reduced use of fossil generation. A mix of new low-carbon resources including renewable energy, energy storage, and community-wide energy efficiency will be required as well as firm capacity resources, which will be needed to maintain resource adequacy.

Publications


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