Electric energy systems powered the growth of our society and economy for over a century. But climate change is forcing us to revisit our power systems in two ways. First, it must turn away from the fossil fuels that fed its growth, and instead turn towards more renewable and sustainable supply options. Second, electric energy systems need to grow and expand significantly so that we can move electric vehicles and space heating to a clean electricity grid. It’s a scale we’ve never seen before, and we need to keep it affordable while we are in a cost-of-living crisis. This talk will explore some of the technical, economic, social, environmental, and political challenges and solutions of this energy transition.

About the speaker

Dr. Jessie Ma is an Assistant Professor and Ontario Research Chair of Sustainable Energy at the University of Waterloo in the Department of Systems Design Engineering (Faculty of Engineering) and the School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development (Faculty of Environment).

Dr. Ma was awarded her PhD degree in Electrical Engineering at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) in 2020. In her dissertation, she created a new demand response market, which she co-optimized in concert with the traditional energy market. She graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Master in Public Administration program in 2009 and the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science program in 2001.

Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, Dr. Ma spent two decades in the Ontario electricity sector. Dr. Ma was a research fellow at the Centre for Urban Energy at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), conducting research in energy storage, conservation, and reactive power optimization. Dr. Ma spent over a dozen years at Hydro One and was the driving force behind the launch of the corporate responsibility program. Her diverse roles at Hydro One spanned technical and business functions, including generation connections, transmission approvals, and government relations.

Jessie Ma