seth blumsack

associate professor and hop farmer*
department of energy and mineral engineering

the pennsylvania state university
university park, penna. 16802
office: hosler building 124
phone: (814) 863-7597
email: sethb [at] psu [dot] edu

current cv [.pdf]

home page at the earth and mineral sciences energy institute

blumsack research page

research opportunities

 


school

research: i am an associate professor in the leone family department of energy and mineral engineering at penn state university, and the co-director of the energy and environmental economics and policy initiative at penn state. i teach undergraduate courses and advise students in the energy business and finance program.  i also teach public policy and economics courses to graduate students in science, engineering and other technical fields across the university.  I have strong interests in helping professionals and students address policy-relevant problems related to energy and environmental systems and technologies.  you can learn more about my interests and view some relevant publications on my research page.  broadly, my teaching and research falls in these areas:

  • energy and electric power systems
  • network and graph theory
  • regulatory economics and policy
  • antitrust and competition policy
  • market power in electricity markets
  • transportation systems and infrastructure
  • environmental risk and decision-making
  • integrated design for zero or low net-energy buildings and communities
  • unconventional natural gas

My dissertation examined several implications of the braess paradox for network behavior and transmission investment, planning, and pricing in electric power systems.  i earned my ph.d. through the department of engineering and public policy at carnegie mellon, and was associated with the carnegie mellon electricity industry center.  my dissertation was supervised by lester lave, marija ilic, jay apt, and sarosh talukdar.

 

teaching:
  • ebf 100: introduction to environmental and earth resources economics
  • ebf 304: environmental management
  • eme 525: theory and practice of policy analysis for engineers
  • em sc 420: energy and modern society
  • eme 580: integrated design
  • eme 590: energy and mineral engineering colloquium
  • ebf 483: introduction to the electric power industry
  • ennec 597: advanced topics in electricity markets and power system analysis
  • summer short course on energy markets, vermont law school [syllabus]
  • 73-428/19-624:  the transformation of energy markets, spring 2005, carnegie mellon.  [syllabus]
awards/honors:
  • john t. ryan, jr. faculty fellowship, college of earth and mineral sciences, 2011 - 2013.
  • wilson research initiation award, penn state college of earth and mineral sciences, 2009.
  • william w. cooper doctoral dissertation award for "outstanding doctoral dissertation in management or the management sciences," tepper school of business, carnegie mellon university, may 2006.
  • best poster award at the technology, policy, and management graduate consortium, cambridge ma, june 2005. [poster pdf]
  • herbert l. toor award for "outstanding research paper submitted in the qualifying examinations of the department of engineering and public policy," february 2004.
  • deed technical grant, american public power association, with chantal brandon and dmitri perekhodtsev, december 2001.
  • william larimer mellon scholarship, graduate school of industrial administration, carnegie mellon university, academic years 2001/2002 and 2002/2003.
professional affiliations:
  • associate professor, leone family department of energy and mineral engineering, penn state university, 2013 - present.
  • assistant professor, leone family department of energy and mineral engineering, penn state university, 2007 - 2013.
  • adjunct research professor, carnegie mellon electricity industry center.
  • researcher, centre for energy and mineral economics (creme), curtin university, australia
  • associate editor for economics and policy, journal of unconventional oil and gas
  • postdoctoral research fellow, tepper school of business, carnegie mellon university, affiliated with the carnegie mellon electricity industry center, 2006 - 2007.
  • ph.d. student, department of engineering and public policy, carnegie mellon university, supported by the carnegie mellon electricity industry center, august 2003 - 2006.
  • economist, economic insight, inc., portland oregon, 1998 - 2001.
  • editor and contributor, the energy market report, portland oregon, 1998 - 2001.
  • editor, pacific west oil data, 1999 - 2001.
  • economics intern, oregon department of fish and wildlife, portland oregon, 1997.
education:
  • ph.d. department of engineering and public policy, carnegie mellon university, may 2006.
  • m.s. economics, graduate school of industrial administration, carnegie mellon university, 2003.
  • m.s. coursework in statistics (unfinished), portland state university, 1998 - 1999.
  • b.a. mathematics/economics, reed college, 1998.
other:
  • expert witness and other consulting activities for the connecticut department of public utility control, maryland public service commission, consortium for risk evaluation with stakeholder participation, american public power association, vermont energy investment corporation.
  • advisory service for the u.s. environmental protection agency, u.s. department of energy, alfred p. sloan foundation, envision charlotte.
  • submitted comments on the state of retail and wholesale electricity markets to ferc and the intergovernmental task force on electric market competition with jay apt and lester lave, november 2005.
  • designed and taught interdisciplinary course on energy markets for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in economics and engineering, spring 2005.  [syllabus]
  • submitted comments on ferc supplier margin assessment test for market power with lester lave and dmitri perekhodtsev, january 2004.
  • submitted comments on ferc standard market design with lester lave and dmitri perekhodtsev, november 2002.
  • expert testimony on the competitiveness of the gasoline market in portland oregon for the city of sherwood oregon, february 2001.
  • "gas and electricity in the wscc: price levels and volatility," seminar given to the pacific northwest gas/electric integration group, december 2000.
  • "five-year outlook for gasoline and distillates," with sam van vactor and peter stiffler, report to the oregon department of energy, december 2000.
  • "blowin' in the wind: enso and the oregon coastal sport fishery," b.a. thesis, reed college 1998.
links:

not school

what i like:
  • rock climbing and mountaineering
  • hiking
  • biking
  • skiing
  • cooking in my big green egg
  • beer (particularly after partaking in any of the above. or after breaking my bones into multiple pieces while partaking in the above.)
  • vermont
  • my wife erin
  • her dog
  • my dog
vitals and miscellany:
  • i currently live on a small farm in penns valley pennsylvania where i am a professor at penn state, and i am surprised to report that i do not hate either one. i have also lived in pittsburgh pennsylvania, portland oregon, tucson arizona, stowe vermont, concord massachusetts, and my toyota.
  • *yes, we do grow hops on our farm.  eight different varieties.  most of our crop goes into our brew kettle or down to the elk creek cafe.
  • i have broken my talus, scafoid, wrist (two places), most of my toes, and my toyota (twice three times!) with more to come. i have tendonitis in both knees, both elbows, one wrist, and one achilles tendon. more to come, i'm sure.
  • i am a graduate of the national outdoor leadership school (nols), 1993.
  • i have played the drums (mostly jazz) for around twenty-five years.
  • my puppy cooper is a nova scotia duck tolling retriever.