Managing Consultant
Jimmy Nelson

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Dr. Jimmy Nelson focuses on the operations, economics, and planning of electricity systems. He is an expert in production simulation modeling and is adept at deriving intuitive results from these complex and often opaque models. As part of his doctoral dissertation, Jimmy helped develop the SWITCH-WECC model, which is in the same family of tools as E3’s Renewable Energy Solutions Model (RESOLVE), a long-term optimal expansion planning model. Jimmy also has provided expert testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission on electricity planning.

Jimmy began his career in energy working to make solar panels cheaper when cost was one of the main barriers to adoption. A decade later, he is helping clients understand how to manage frequent surpluses of renewably sourced electricity. Jimmy enjoys exploring how we can adapt the models we use to understand grid operations to address the challenges and opportunities of the rapidly evolving electricity system.

Prior to joining E3 in 2016, Jimmy was a Kendall Science Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Education: PhD, energy and resources, and MS, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; BS, chemistry, Haverford College


Investigating the Economic Value of Flexible Solar Plants

Solar power has grown rapidly around the world, driven by steep cost reductions and increasing interest in carbon-free energy. In 2017, solar power was the second-largest source of new U.S. electric generating capacity, and in each of the last five years it has accounted for more than a quarter of all U.S. capacity additions. Significant strides have […]


Evaluating benefits of regional market participation | Multiple utilities, 2014–present

E3 has completed studies for more than 10 utilities on the costs and benefits of participating in the western energy imbalance market (EIM), a regional 5-minute balancing market that became operational in 2014. The EIM aims to lower costs for consumers and assist states in meeting renewable energy goals through more-efficient dispatch, which reduces the need to carry costly reserves and curtail renewable generation. For each study, we ran a production simulation grounded in a detailed representation of the utility’s system. Our work has informed decisions by PacifiCorp, Arizona Public Service, NV Energy, and other utilities to join the EIM, as well as Chelan County Public Utility District’s decision not to participate. Consistent with E3 findings, the California ISO estimated that participants saved more than $85 million in the 20 months after the EIM became operational. Several more studies for utilities are under way.



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