Sergio Castellanos is a Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute – Tecnológico de Monterrey (BECI–ITESM) Energy Fellow working at the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab with Prof. Dan Kammen. His research focuses on expanding an optimization model –SWITCH– to Mexico to determine the optimal investments in new generation and transmission assets. Through his research, he also analyzes the manufacturing capacity of photovoltaic solar technologies in Mexico. Previously, in his Ph.D. studies (Mechanical Engineering ’15, MIT) he characterized the electrical impact of structural defects in silicon-based solar cells. He enjoys reading, exploring new hobbies, and learning more about the intersection of technology, business, and policy in renewable energy.
Continuation of the U.S.’s historical pattern addressing energy problems only in times of crisis is unlikely to catalyze a transition to an energy system with fewer adverse social impacts. Instead, the U.S. needs to bolster support for energy innovation when the perceived urgency of energy-related problems appears to be receding. Because of the lags involved in both the energy system and the climate system, decarbonizing the economy will require extraordinary persistence over decades. This need for sustained commitment is in contrast to the last several decades, which have been marked by volatility and cycles of boom and bust. In contrast to the often –repeated phrase that one should ‘never let a good crisis go to waste,’ the U.S. needs to most actively foster energy innovation when aspects of energy and climate problems appear to be improving. We describe the rationale for a ‘countercyclical’ approach to energy and climate policy, which involves pre-commitment t o a set of policies that go into effect once a set of trigger conditions are met.
I am working on my MS/PhD at the Energy and Resources Group (ERG). My research is in low-carbon (low-impact) energy systems and economic development, modeling high renewable energy future scenarios, and deploying sMArt Grid (high-tech/low-cost) pilots in the rising south. I’ve worked in Chiapas (Mexico) developing regional microcredit schemes and river survey studies, designed and built ‘low-tech/high– impact’ water distribution systems for small communities in Uganda and Honduras, have used GIS models and InVest (Integrated Valuation of Environmental services and Tradeoffs) to study the hydrology of the Linthipe Basin (Malawi), and investigated linkages between hydrological variability, energy use, and agriculture in Punjab and Telangana (India).
My current work is in Nicaragua developing and building scenarios for the SWITCH model – optimizing the penetration of renewable energy into the country’s electric power system, and deploying the country’s first micro-scale demand response program (DR) through the use of ‘flexible energy toolkits’.
You can visit my website: dleonb.com, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts