Mort Webster

Directory Info

Mort D. Webster

Associate Professor of Energy Engineering

123 Hosler Building


Biographical Sketch: 

Prof. Webster is an Associate Professor of Energy Engineering, with a focus on uncertainty in energy and environmental systems.  Prof. Webster specializes in risk analysis, uncertainty analysis, and decision-making under uncertainty.  He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in energy and environmental science, engineering, economics, and policy, and has served on several national and international panels, including the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.  Prior to joining Penn State, Prof. Webster was Assistant and Associate Professor of Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006-2013) and Assistant Professor of public policy in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2001-2006).  He received a Ph.D. (2000) in Engineering Systems and a M.S. (1996) in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a B.S.E. (1988) in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  

Educational Background: 

Ph.D. (Engineering Systems), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
M.S. (Technology and Policy), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996
B.S.E. (Computer Science and Engineering), University of Pennsylvania, 1988

Research Interests: 
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Stochastic Optimization and Dynamic Programming
  • Electric Power Systems Planning and Operations
  • Energy Systems Design under Uncertainty
  • Environmental Regulatory Design
Active Research Projects: 

Dr. Webster conducts research on the design and operation of energy systems and environmental regulatory systems under uncertainty, and on electric power system design and regulation for multiple environmental objectives.  Current/recent research projects include stochastic dynamic modeling of the electric power system focusing on the integration of intermittent renewable generation (NSF), modeling technological change as a stochastic process and implications for near-term R&D portfolios (NSF, DOE), and flexible air quality strategies under uncertainty using integrated economic/energy/chemistry regional models (NSF, EPA).  

Selected Publications: 
  1. de Sisternes, F.J., Webster, M.D., and Perez-Arriaga, J.I. (2014). The Impact of Bidding Rules on Electricity Markets with Intermittent Renewables. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems (in press).
  2. Eide, J., de Sisternes, F., Herzog, H. and Webster, M. (2014). CO2 emissions standards and investment in carbon capture. Energy Economics 45 (2014) 53–65.
  3. Palmintier, B. and Webster, M. (2014). Heterogeneous Unit Clustering for Efficient Operational Flexibility Modeling. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 29 (3): 1089-1098.
  4. Felgenhauer, T. and Webster, M. (2014). Modeling Adaptation as a Flow and Stock Decision with Mitigation. Climatic Change 122: 665-679.
  5. Parpas, P. and Webster, M. (2014). A stochastic multiscale model for electricity generation capacity expansion. European Journal of Operational Research 232 (2): 359-374.
  6. Webster, M., Donohoo, P., and Palmintier, B. (2013). Water-CO2 Tradeoffs in Electricity Generation Planning. Nature Climate Change 3 (27 October 2013): 1029-1032.
  7. Popp, D., Santen, N., Fisher-Vanden, K. and Webster, M. (2013). Technology Variation vs. R&D Uncertainty: What Matters Most for Energy Patent Success? Resource and Energy Economics 35 (4): 505-533.
  8. Panos, P. and Webster, M. (2013). A stochastic minimum principle and a meshfree method for stochastic optimal control. Automatica 49 (6): 1663-1671.
  9. Webster, M.D., Santen, N.R. and Parpas, P. (2012). An approximate dynamic programming framework for modeling global climate policy under decision-dependent uncertainty. Computational Management Science 9: 339–362.
  10. Sun, L., Webster, M., McGaughey, G., McDonald-Buller, E.C., Thompson, T., Prinn, R., Ellerman, A.D. and Allen, D.T. (2012). Flexible NOx Abatement from Power Plants in the Eastern United States. Environmental Science and Technology 46 (10): 5607–5615.
  11. Alhajeri, N.S., Donohoo, P., Stillwell, A.S., King, C.W., Webster, M.D., Webber, M.E. and Allen, D.T. (2011). Using Market-Based Dispatching With Environmental Price Signals to Reduce Emissions and Water Use at Power Plants in the Texas Grid. Environmental Research Letters 6 044018.
  12. Webster, M. D., Sue Wing, I., and L. Jakobavits (2010). Second-Best Instruments for Near-Term Climate Policy: Intensity Targets vs. the Safety Valve. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 59 (2010) 250–259.
Recent Activities: 

Academic Service

  • Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Electric Power Systems, EMS Energy Institute, 2014-present.
  • Committee Member, ICS Coordinating Committee, The Pennsylvania State U, 2014-present.

Professional Service

  • Associate Editor, Energy Economics, 2005-2012
  • U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board (nominated)
  • Society Memberships: INFORMS, IEEE, IAEE.
  • U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award, January, 2010.
  • Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Univ. of North Carolina, Feb. 2006.