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2023 Summer Fellowship Program

Program Description

EER is seeking recent and upcoming graduates from bachelor’s and master’s degree programs to join us as summer fellows from May to August 2023. Summer fellows will work closely with EER partners to support client engagements while also performing an independent research project. Partners will provide extensive hands-on training to help fellows understand our modeling tools and make meaningful contributions to ongoing consulting projects. 

Key Responsibilities

Fellows' responsibilities will be divided equally between an independent research project and client projects. 

The research project will be a primarily self-directed effort, with fellows expected to scope and execute the work. Fellows will be assigned a partner-level "advisor" to support their research project, and will periodically present interim results to the partner team for feedback and guidance. 

 

Fellows will have the opportunity to contribute to client projects in the following ways: 

  • Compile and process input data to update and customize models on an ongoing basis. Each project requires some new data collection as we adapt our models to represent a specific geography or answer a new research question. 

  • Synthesize model results to create figures and data extracts for use in client deliverables and marketing materials. Our models represent the entire economy at a high geographic and temporal resolution, so each model run produces a large volume of data. Fellows will work with partners to draw meaningful insights from the results data, primarily in Tableau.

  • Produce PowerPoint slides and written documents to communicate assumptions and results to clients and other audiences. Written products could include project reports, white papers, blog posts, and marketing materials.

  • Support client management and project management by overseeing client communications and scheduling, responding to data requests, and reviewing client-produced outputs.

  • Optional, for candidates with programming experience: write scripts that produce model inputs or create derivative outputs from model runs (e.g., wind and solar production profiles, GIS layers). 

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree + 2 years work experience OR master's degree (master's degree candidates are encouraged to apply)

  • Work experience / academic background does not need to be directly energy-related

  • Comfort engaging with clients over email and video call

  • Ability to operate in an unstructured environment with little oversight

  • Passionate about climate solutions

  • Early-career, open minded, here to learn

Additional Qualifications

Experience with Python, GIS, or Tableau would be especially valuable. 

Location

The EER team is remote, and fellows are expected to have the equipment necessary to work from home. 

Salary Expectations

Fellows will earn a stipend of $6,000 per month for full-time work. Summer fellows are not regular employees of EER and do not receive additional benefits.

Application Process

Please send the following application materials in electronic form to darcie.bentz@evolved.energyApplications will be accepted until 2/15/2023, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Research Proposal Instructions

A key element of the fellowship program is an independent research project. We've provided five possible topics for research projects, detailed below, which relate directly to ongoing work at EER. We are also open to projects on other topics, provided they align with our research priorities. Please include in your application a research proposal on one of the topics below. Proposals should be no longer than 500 words. If you'd prefer to research a different topic, please email a short description (no more than a paragraph) to darcie.bentz@evolved.energy to receive approval for the topic before writing your proposal. 

Research Project Topics: 

1. Energy Parks in the U.S.

Low-cost wind and solar are poised to become the primary energy backbone of a net-zero energy system, and hydrogen production tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act have meant that hydrogen production co-located with high-quality wind and solar resources will become a reality in the next decade. The concept of an energy park is one in which large scale e-fuel production, direct air capture, and energy intensive industry can be located together at the best renewable locations, away from population centers, and with lower energy transport costs. This project will explore this concept to develop technology representations for use in capacity expansion modeling. Facility with optimization and some fluency with geospatial analysis is necessary for this project.

2. Future Electricity and Gas Customer Rate Design

A transition to a low-carbon energy system is expected to usher in a wide array of changes to both electricity and gas systems. On the electricity side, renewable generation, electricity growth from electrification, and the potential for demand-side participation result in rapid changes to electric utility marginal cost of service. On the gas side, declining gas pipeline throughput and pressure to develop clean gas supplies will increase per unit costs, often significantly. Smart rate design is a critical part of the energy transition and needs to balance energy burden and equity concerns with economic efficiency and public policy objectives (e.g., increasing energy efficiency and electrification). This project will create an Excel model to study options for future rates and assess impacts on different groups of customers and the incentives to adopt important climate technologies.

3. Decarbonizing Residential Housing Stock

Many macro-scale energy models treat building stocks in simplistic ways, often modeling the ‘average’ home in a region without important differentiation based on home age, size, or key characteristics, like heat distribution methods (e.g., the presence or absence of ductwork). This project will conduct research to bucket the U.S. housing stock into cohorts at a state level using micro-data from the U.S. Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) and other sources that allow more accurate cost and performance assessments of efficiency and electrification measures. The results of the data work will be used in the EnergyPATHWAYS model and will support development of a white paper identifying changes in conceptual findings from more detailed data inputs. Hand-son understanding of energy consumption in buildings is helpful but not required.

4. Decarbonization and Energy Security

In the long run, replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon alternatives is expected to reduce vulnerability to supply disruption, but in the near term, reducing domestic production of oil and gas for climate reasons could increase that vulnerability. Electrifying transportation and other current fossil fuel end uses increases dependence on grid reliability and secure supplies of strategic materials such as lithium. This project will quantitatively explore the implications of decarbonization on different aspects of energy security, based on modeled physical and financial flows over time, in the U.S. and globally. Useful skills for this project include general energy knowledge, facility with Excel, Tableau, and geospatial analysis tools, and familiarity with integrated assessment models.

5. Nuclear Energy

Renewables are the lowest-cost forms of primary energy in a decarbonized economy, but if their development is constrained—for example due to an inability to site, construct, and interconnect wind and solar farms at a sufficient scale and rate—nuclear energy may be needed in quantity in order to meet decarbonization goals. This project will explore the conditions that could lead to an expanded role for nuclear in a net-zero energy system. Potential topics include repowering coal plant sites with nuclear; industrial heat hosts for nuclear co-generation; deployment strategies for small nuclear reactors; financial and regulatory models that reduce risk of ownership; emerging nuclear technologies and fuel cycles; and how nuclear can regain public trust and acceptance. A background in nuclear engineering is helpful but not required.

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