All Thayer Events

Designing a Net-Zero Energy System to Address Multiple Objectives



12:00pm - 1:00pm ET


Meeting ID: 999 5495 4616
Passcode: 664246

Achieving an economy-wide net-zero emissions target entails transformational changes in human-environmental-engineered systems. Designing future energy and industrial infrastructure systems requires balancing multiple and often conflicting objectives of multiple actors.

Macro-energy system models are increasingly used to plan systems and typically adopt least-cost objectives to select optimal technoeconomic pathways to achieve climate goals. Whereas non-cost objectives that may influence decision and design processes are often treated as outcomes rather than explicit objectives.

This presentation will review technological pathways and infrastructure deployment to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. Then, an approach for operationalizing non-cost objectives associated with air quality, labor, and land use in macro-energy system models will be demonstrated through case studies of coal electric power retirements, natural gas supply chain development, and utility-scale solar siting.

About the Speaker(s)

Erin Mayfield
Postdoctoral Scholar, Princeton University

Erin Mayfield is a sustainable systems engineer, and currently is a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton University. Her research focuses on developing multi-objective computational models that integrate technoeconomic, environmental, and socioeconomic objectives to inform energy and industrial infrastructure system transitions in the context of climate change. She previously worked as an environmental engineer on natural resource damages litigation related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, hazardous waste remediation, and ecosystem services valuation related to petrochemical and pesticide contamination. Mayfield has also held positions at the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Congress, and Environmental Law Institute. She received her bachelor's degree in environmental science from Rutgers University, master's degree in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and PhD in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.


For more information, contact Ashley Parker at