Jesse Jenkins

jesse jenkins photo
Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018


214 Andlinger Center

Faculty Assistant

Emma Kruse

Research Areas

Short Bio

Jesse D. Jenkins is an assistant professor and macro-scale energy systems engineer at Princeton University with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment. He is also an affiliated faculty with the Center for Policy Research in Energy and Environment at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and an associated faculty at the Princeton Environmental Institute. 

Jesse completed a PhD in Engineering Systems (’18) and MS in Technology and Policy (’14) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in Computer and Information Science (’06) at the University of Oregon. He worked previously as a postdoctoral Environmental Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard University Center for the Environment, a researcher at the MIT Energy Initiative, a research fellow at Argonne National Laboratory, the Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute, and a Policy and Research Associate at Renewable Northwest.

At Princeton, Jesse leads the ZERO Lab (Zero-carbon Energy systems Research and Optimization Laboratory), which focuses on improving and applying optimization-based energy systems models to evaluate and optimize low-carbon energy technologies, guide investment and research in innovative energy technologies, and generate insights to improve energy and climate policy and planning decisions.

Jesse has published peer-reviewed papers in the journals Nature Energy, Joule, Applied Energy, Environmental Research Letters, Global Climate Change, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, The Energy Journal, Economics of Energy and Environmental Policy, Nuclear Technology, Energy Policy, and WIREs: Climate Change. He recently served on the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine expert committee on Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, was a principal investigator and lead author of Princeton's landmark Net-Zero America study, and leads the REPEAT Project (, which provides regular, timely, and independent environmental and economic evaluation of federal energy and climate policies as they’re proposed and enacted. Dr. Jenkins has delivered invited testimony to multiple Congressional committees and his research is frequently featured in major media outlets. He regularly provides technical analysis and policy advice for non-profit organizations, policy makers, investors, and early-stage technology ventures working to accelerate the deployment of clean energy. He is currently an advisor to Rondo Energy, Eavor Technologies, MUUS Climate Partners, Energy Impact Partners, and Clean Air Task Force and is a partner with DeSolve, LLC, which provides decision support, analytics, and policy advisory services.

For an introduction to Jesse's work, he recommends the following resources: A short video, “The Grid We Need to Electrify Everything,” describes the central role of the electricity sector in deep decarbonization. Jesse’s appearance on the Ezra Klein Show podcast, “The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I've Heard.” A September 2022 Bradford Seminar at Princeton on “The Inflation Reduction Act and the Path to Net-Zero.” The Net-Zero America final report. "The Paths to Net Zero," an article from April 2020 in Foreign Affairs, lays out how far we've come and the challenges that remain on the path to decarbonize global energy systems. Finally, for a wide-ranging discussion on Jesse's research and approach to macro-scale energy systems modeling and decision support, listen to his appearance on the Voltcast podcast in March 2021 with host and environmental journalist David Roberts. 

Stay in touch with Jesse on Twitter, and connect on LinkedIn, and view his publications here.


Selected Publications

Ricks, W., Norbeck, J., Jenkins, J.D. (2022), “The value of in-reservoir energy storage for flexible operation of geothermal systems,” Applied Energy, 313: 118807, doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2022.118807 Sepulveda N.A., Jenkins, J.D., Edington, A., Mallpragada, D., Lester, R.K (2021),

“The design space for long-duration energy storage in decarbonized power systems,” Nature Energy, doi:10.1038/s41560-021-00796-8

Jenkins, J.D., Mayfield, E., Larson, E., Pacala, S., Greig, C. (2021), “Mission net-zero America: the nation-building path to a prosperous net-zero emissions economy,” Joule 5(11): 2755-2761, doi:10.1016/j.joule.2021.10.016

Baik, E.J., Chawla, K.P., Jenkins, J.D., Kolster, C., Patankar, N.S., Olson, A., Benson, S.M., Long, J. (2021), “What is different about different net-zero carbon electricity systems,” Energy & Climate Change, 2: 100046, doi:10.1016/j.egycc.2021.100046

Sepulveda, N., Jenkins, J.D., Lester, R., de Sisternes, F. (2018), “The role of firm low-carbon electricity resources in deep decarbonization of electric power generation,” Joule 2(11). doi:10.1016/j.joule.2018.08.006