Consultant
Chen Zhang

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Chen Zhang

Chen Zhang joined E3 in 2020 after earning her master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. She primarily works in E3’s resource planning practice area to help utilities, states, and municipalities tackle planning challenges surrounding renewable energy integration and decarbonization.

Chen sees climate change as one of the biggest challenges of our times and she is passionate about developing strategic solutions to tackle energy and environmental issues. She was drawn to E3 for its thought leadership and its rigorous analytical approach to solve complex interdisciplinary problems.

Prior to joining E3, Chen interned at the Western Electricity Coordinating Council where she helped develop a framework for analyzing changes in demand patterns with increasing renewable energy penetration. She also interned at Tesla where she evaluated cost savings from installing solar and battery storage systems for commercial customers.

Outside of work, Chen enjoys traveling, swimming, and cooking.

Education: MS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University; BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Projects

Integrated Resource Plan Support | El Paso Electric, 2020-21

E3 provided a broad range of IRP support services for El Paso Electric (EPE) including developing resource options and data inputs, conducting a Planning Reserve Margin and ELCC study using RECAP, optimizing EPE’s portfolios over the 2021-2045 period reflecting New Mexico’s Renewables Portfolio Standard and Energy Transition Act as well as EPE’s own goal of 80% carbon reductions by 2035, studying the operability of EPE’s system under high levels of wind and solar generation, and developing regulatory strategies for cost allocation and procurement given EPE’s multi-state service area. E3 has also been heavily involved in EPE’s stakeholder outreach and communication strategy, leading multiple stakeholder workshops and contributing to a substantial improvement in EPE’s stakeholder relations.

Read the detailed project description.

Publications

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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