Seth Blumsack


Phone: (814) 863-7597

Office Address:
115 Hosler Bldg.

Title: Associate Professor


Research Areas:
Clean Fuels & Catalysis
Energy Economics
Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering
Stationary Power
Sustainable Energy
Initiative for Sustainable Electric Power Systems

Education Background:
• B.A. Mathematics/Economics, Reed College (1998)
• M.S. Economics, Carnegie-Mellon University (2003)
• Ph.D. Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie-Mellon University (2006)
• Postdoctoral Researcher, Carnegie-Mellon University (2006 - 2007)


Blumsack is a professor of energy policy and economics and international affairs. He also serves as the director of the Center for Energy Law and Policy, a University-wide interdisciplinary research initiative. He started at Penn State in 2007. He is also a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. Blumsack has been studying the electric power industry through academic and consulting affiliations for more than twenty years. He has authored or co-authored more than fifty scientific papers, book chapters, and articles in industry and popular press, with research funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and private industry. He has consulted with the American Public Power Association, Bayer Materials, the Congressional Research Service, the Consortium for Risk Assessment and Stakeholder Participation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Idaho National Laboratory, the DOE, the EPA, and numerous electric utilities and state public utility commissions.

Research Interests:

• The “Smart Grid” and the transition to more efficient and lower impact
• Energy, electric power, and transportation systems
• Marcellus shale and other unconventional natural gas sources
• Structure, vulnerability, and performance of energy infrastructure networks
• Electricity deregulation

Memberships & Committees:

Dr. Blumsack works with undergraduate students in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, particularly the B.S. program in Energy Business and Finance.  He is the faculty advisor for the Penn State student branch of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics.

Dr. Blumsack is an active member of the following professional organizations:

• American Economic Association
• Power Engineering Society, IEEE
• U.S. Association for Energy Economics
• American Geophysical Union
• Society for Risk Analysis

Honors & Awards:

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 for “Some Implications of Braess’s Paradox for Electric Power Networks,” Technology, Policy and Management Consortium, Cambridge MA, May 2005.

Herbert L. Toor Award for “Outstanding Research Paper Submitted in the Qualifying Examinations of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy,” Carnegie Mellon University, February 2004.


Dr. Blumsack teaches courses in the Energy Business and Finance undergraduate program, and in the Energy Management and Policy option within the Energy and Mineral Engineering graduate program.  He has regularly taught the following courses:

EBF 483: Introduction to Electricity Markets. Discusses the economic structure; regulation and deregulation of the electric power sector.

ENNEC 100: Introduction to environmental, resource and energy economics.

EBF 304W: Environmental management.  A problem-solving course focused on the decisions that businesses and firms make when confronted with problems involving uncertainty, environmental risk, and technological risks to human health and/or safety.

EME 525: Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis for Engineers.  Discusses the major quantitative tools used in public decision-making, particularly in problems where technology, uncertainty and risk are important components.

Dr. Blumsack also teaches a week-long summer course on energy markets and regulation at the Vermont Law School.

Dr. Blumsack actively involves undergraduate and graduate students in his research.  He is currently working with students in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, as well as the College of Engineering and the College of Agricultural Sciences.  Dr. Blumsack's research mentorship philosophy focuses on producing creative problem-solvers interested in taking interdisciplinary approaches to addressing important economic policy problems related to energy and the environment.




Seth Blumsack's Publications
Record 1 - 10 of 23 View All
Kleit, A., C. Lo Prete, S. Blumsack, and N. Guo, (2019). Weather or not? Welfare impacts of natural gas pipeline expansion in the Northeastern U.S., Energy Systems 10(3), pp 593-633.
Bent, R., S. Blumsack, P. Van Hentenryck, C. Borraz-Sánchez, and M. Shahriari, (2018). Joint Electricity and Natural Gas Transmission Planning With Endogenous Market Feedbacks, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 33:6, pp. 6397-6409.
Blumsack, S., (2018). Impacts of the retirement of the Beaver Valley and Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plants on Capacity and Energy Prices in Pennsylvania, Electricity Journal 31:6, pp. 57-64.
Kleit, A. N., C. Lo Prete, S. Blumsack, and N. Guo (2018). “Weather or Not? Welfare Impacts of Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion in the Northeastern U.S.,” 9 Energy Systems 1-41.
Tayari,F., S. Blumsack, R. T. Johns, S. Tham, and S. Ghosh, (2018). Techno-economic assessment of reservoir heterogeneity and permeability variation on economic value of enhanced oil recovery by gas and foam flooding, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 166, pp. 913-923.
Yoo, K., and S. Blumsack, (2018). Can Capacity Markets be Designed by Democracy? Journal of Regulatory Economics 53:2, pp. 127-151.
Yoo, K., and S. Blumsack, (2018). The Political Complexity of Regional Electricity Policy Formation, Complexity 3493942, v2018, 18 pp.
Cahoy, D. R., Zhen Lei, Y. Meng, and S. Blumsack, (2017). Global Patent Chokepoints, Stanford Technology Law Review, 20, pp 213-244.
Kumpf, K., S. A. Blumsack, G. S. Young, and J. R. S. Brownson, (2015). Portfolio Analysis of Solar Photovoltaics: Quantifying the Contributions of Locational Marginal Pricing and Power on Revenue Variability. Solar Energy. 119, 277–285. DOI:10.1016/j.solener.2015.06.008.
Ayala H., L. F., and S. Blumsack, (2013 June). The Braess Paradox and its Impact on Natural Gas Network Performance, Oil and Gas Facilities J., v. 2, n. 3, pp. 52-64.