Dr. Madeleine McPherson

Dr. Madeleine  McPherson
Assistant Professor
Civil Engineering
Office: EOW 343

BASc (U of T), MEL (UBC), PhD (U of T)

Area of expertise

Variable renewable energy integration, energy systems integration, systems modelling and design

Dr. Madeleine McPherson is an Assistant Professor in the department of Civil Engineering at the University of Victoria and the principal investigator of the Sustainable Energy Systems Integration & Transitions (SESIT) Group. McPherson and her team are developing a platform to explore electrification and energy systems integration to co-create decarbonization pathways. Dr. McPherson serves as an Executive Member on the Energy Modelling Hub, which is convening a national dialog between modelers and stakeholders around decarbonizing Canada’s energy system


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Victoria (2018-present)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2017-2018)
  • PhD, Civil Engineering, University of Toronto (2013-2017)
  • Masters, Clean Energy Engineering, University of British Columbia (2009-2010)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science, University of Toronto (2009)


I lead the Sustainable Energy Systems Integration and Transitions (SESIT) Group at the University of Victoria. Our group research focuses on energy systems integration – the process of coordinating the operation and planning of our energy systems over a variety of spatial-temporal scales and infrastructure systems (transport, buildings, electricity, water). This work involves the development and application of energy system software, designed to address research and policy questions related to variable renewable energy integration, demand response initiatives, utility-scale and behind-the-meter storage technologies, and electric vehicle integration. We use a range of approaches including optimization and machine intelligence techniques to gain insights into the sustainable energy system transformation. My research interests include:

  • Representing grid-edge actors and their interaction with the energy system
  • Integrating the transport, power, buildings and water systems
  • Developing a spatially and temporally broad perspective of our energy system

Charting Canada’s transition to a decarbonized energy system

In this project, we will build a credible blueprint to achieve Canada’s Paris commitment and Pan-Canadian Framework goals. To do so, two distinct but commonly used modelling approaches will be applied to gain deeper insights into Canada’s energy system transition. The capacity expansion model CREST, with its broad spatial and temporal perspective, will facilitate a National dialogue on electricity system planning. Next, the production cost model SILVER, which represents the electricity system with greater temporal resolution, will validate the operability of the proposed electricity system configuration. This two-step modelling methodology combines the spatial breadth of CREST with the temporal resolution of SILVER to build a credible pathway to decarbonizing our energy system.

100% renewable cities

Cities offer a tractable opportunity for renewable-based climate change mitigation but face distinct challenges depending on their local economy, resources, and political climate. In sub-Saharan Africa where 65% of the population lacks access to electricity, novel solutions that do not depend on centralized infrastructure are necessary to facilitate electricity access for the bottom billion. In North America, over 50 cities are sidestepping provincial and federal climate change policy gridlock by developing renewable city commitments. This project will adapt the SILVER model to the city-scale, to explore the feasibility of moving Regina to a 100% renewable city.

Please see my lab webpage for more information on our current projects, publications, and open positions. Google Scholar contains more information on my publications.


  • CIVE315 Environmental Policy (Spring 2018)
  • CIVE480C Energy Systems Decarbonization (Summer 2019)


I am always looking for talented and motivated graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Applications are welcome from candidates with a background in environmental, civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering as well as computer science and other related areas. Funding is available for MASc and PhD positions, and top-ups are available to students who receive independent research scholarships. Please send me an email if you are interested in joining the team.