People / Students

Jess Kersey

Jess Kersey is a fourth-year PhD student broadly interested in technology, regulation, and policy to improve energy access and climate adaptation efforts across multiple geographies including East Africa, Latin America, and island nations. Jess is also a research affiliate of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and consults with ESMAP, the Asian Development Bank, and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet.

Her current work focuses on deconstructing urban/binary spatial categorizations and highlighting how examining energy poverty with greater spatial nuance reveals access barriers for the growing populations in informal and/or peri-urban communities. She leads the Spotlight Kampala project, which is a multi-stakeholder research partnership to understand energy access affordability, safety, formality, reliability, and quality in informal settlements.

Jess holds dual bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and political science from Virginia Tech. She previously worked as an energy engineer with AECOM’s Energy business line providing technical, project management, and business development support for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability projects. She has a diverse engineering background which includes experience in energy, construction management, and disaster relief both domestically and internationally including work in Haiti, Panama, El Salvador, the US Virgin Islands, and Iraq.


  • Rapid battery cost declines accelerate the prospects of all-electric interregional container shipping (, A panel data analysis of policy effectiveness for renewable energy expansion on Caribbean islands (
  • 2035 Report – Transportation: Plummeting costs and dramatic improvements in batteries can accelerate our clean transportation future (

Research Group(s):

  • RAEL (Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab – Kammen)