Marilyn Brown

Marilyn Brown is a Regents Professor and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy. She joined Georgia Tech in 2006 after a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she led several national climate change mitigation studies and became a leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures. She has served as a presidential appointee to the board of directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority and in 2007 was named co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for co-authoring the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation of Climate Change.

One of Brown’s research areas focuses on the design and impact of policies aimed at accelerating the deployment of innovations on the customer side of the electric meter. “Our continued push to decarbonize the electric grid combined with the impending electrification of transportation provide us with novel types of adaptation strategies,” she explains. “I am very interested in understanding the role of the grid integrated with electric ground and electric air vehicles.” Brown indicates that over the past few years, in communities where rooftop solar systems have expanded, the peak period in which non-renewable energy is needed has shifted to later in the afternoon and early evening. These peaks are also shifting geospatially as we transition to cleaner energy. For example, in New York, the peak demand was previously in Manhattan but has shifted to the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.

Brown is interested in exploring policies that allow us to increase our grid resiliency and better serve peak periods by allowing electric vehicles to sell their services back to the electric system. Designing such a system could also have significant benefits in times of disaster recovery, for example, providing a backup electricity source in the aftermath of hurricanes. “We have an opportunity to blend our transportation and our electricity transformations to create complementarity and a new type of adaptation strategy with renewables so that vehicles are that much cleaner and our grid is that much more resilient.”

For more information on Brown’s research related to UAM, see:

EVs + Renewables: Complementary Climate Adaptation Strategies, where Brown spoke about how electric vehicles, grid redistribution, smart charging, prosumers, and crowd-sharing can help alleviate duck curve energy issues. Geography 2050: American Geographical Society, Fall Symposium on Energy Adaptation Strategies, Columbia University, November 16, 2018.