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Jordan Kern

Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources

Assistant Professor

College of Natural Resources

Jordan Hall Addition 3219


Stochastic modeling of coupled natural-human systems in order to: 1) improve understanding of emergent risks to people and the environment across sectors and scales; and 2) develop novel approaches for mitigating these vulnerabilities.


Ph.D. Environmental Sciences and Engineering University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 2014

M.S. Environmental Sciences and Engineering University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 2010

B.S. Environmental Sciences University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 2007


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Date: 08/01/22 - 7/31/27
Amount: $413,671.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

This proposed work will weave together new and existing knowledge about natural hazards, power systems, and financial/economic markets in order to explore interdependencies and feedbacks between the U.S. power sector’s efforts to manage extreme weather and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Research efforts will focus on developing a deep understanding of system dynamics in different testbeds distributed across the U.S. These testbeds will facilitate investigation of how regional differences in natural resources, climate, infrastructure, and human institutions shape interactions between extreme weather and decarbonization efforts. The unifying thread throughout, and the major research objective of this proposal, is the development and application of a systems analysis framework for resilient and robust management of weather risk in grids transitioning to renewable energy.

Date: 10/01/21 - 9/30/26
Amount: $9,999,146.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is a convergence research hub for addressing the fundamental challenges associated with phosphorus sustainability. The vision of STEPS is to develop new scientific and technological solutions to regulating, recovering and reusing phosphorus that can readily be adopted by society through fundamental research conducted by a broad, highly interdisciplinary team. Key outcomes include new atomic-level knowledge of phosphorus interactions with engineered and natural materials, new understanding of phosphorus mobility at industrial, farm, and landscape scales, and prioritization of best management practices and strategies drawn from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Ultimately, STEPS will provide new scientific understanding, enabling new technologies, and transformative improvements in phosphorus sustainability.

Date: 05/01/23 - 4/30/26
Amount: $128,930.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Collaboration between Colorado School of Mines, NC State, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Study will examine the probability of drought causing "dead pool" events at reservoirs in the Western United States (where water levels fall so low that hydropower production is impossible), and the impacts on the cost and reliability of bulk electric power system operations.

Date: 05/01/23 - 4/30/25
Amount: $993,560.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)

The responsibilities of Emergency Management agencies are extensive and constant, through four generally recognized phases: Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. Energy assurance is only one of many key emergency support functions, and the availability of electricity during and after a disaster is a very important metric for community resilience. In this project a Playbook for Community Energy Resilience is proposed to guide Emergency Managers and their community to assess and implement enhanced energy resilience to mitigate the effects of energy loss during a disaster. The core of the playbook will be a framework for integrating enhanced community energy resilience in the planning and execution for each phase of emergency management. A primary focus will be the use of distributed energy resilience resources, such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage at several points levels of local disaster response – local critical infrastructure facilities, community outposts and low income housing. The team will develop and test a process for selecting facilities, assessing for economic feasibility, determining resilience benefits and developing the resilience resources. Finally, metrics for community energy resilience that are appropriate for use by emergency management at the local and state level will be developed. The NCCETC in collaboration with the State of NC Emergency Management, the NC State Energy Office, North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), will support several local government emergency management stakeholders and their communities including: - City of Asheville/Buncombe County: Urban center in mountainous area - City of Wilmington/New Hanover County: Urban center in coastal area - Outer Banks - Rural island area - Town of Red Spring - Rural, inland, low-lying area - Halifax County - Rural, inland

Date: 01/30/23 - 12/31/24
Amount: $5,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Energy (DOE)

Most hydropower utilities rely on external forecast products provided by NOAA River Forecast Centers and/or an additional source from private industry to support the scheduling of hydropower operations. The producers of these forecasts – NOAA, industry, and even in-house forecasters – do not have access to the dynamic energy prices (production cost models) or the electricity traders’ strategies to maximize revenue from utilization of the hydropower assets. Therefore, the group operating the reservoir is unable to assess the market value of their inflow forecasts, eliminating any ability to target forecast improvements to increase contributions of hydropower to electrical system needs. Both NOAA and industry have reached out to DOE WPTO to understand which inflow forecast products and accuracy levels would be needed to enhance the value of forecasts, from water management and marketed hydropower and grid resilience perspectives. We propose to use inflow forecast, reservoir and power system model simulations, and case studies to practically demonstrate where forecast improvements would create the most value for hydropower services. This research will benefit utilities and other hydropower operators who utilize flow forecasting to support water management and electricity production; it will also support DOE in targeting future investments related to forecasting that will benefit these groups.

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