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2024 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 2024. 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' primary responsibility will be to complete an independent research project the support ongoing analysis priorities at EER. Fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in client projects as their time and interest allows.  

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.

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 March 1st, 2024, 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. Long-term Planning for Data Centers

The project aims to explore and optimize the location and management of data centers in the United States. With the significant increase in electricity usage by data centers this study will acknowledge the unique nature of their power consumption. Some aspects of this demand, such as AI training, offer flexibility in terms of when and where they occur, while others, like those requiring low latency, must be positioned close to the source of demand. A notable point is that nearly 40% of a data center's electricity usage is for cooling purposes, presenting an opportunity to consider colder climates for their placement. This project will initially focus on forecasting computing demands across the U.S. and subsequently employ capacity expansion modeling to identify the most efficient practices for siting and operating data centers, viewing it as a strategic, long-term planning challenge.

2. Power System Reliability in a Changing Climate

Reliable electric power is critical for economic growth, maintaining public safety, and fostering trust in public institutions. However, the tools to study resource adequacy depend on historical data (that don’t represent a changing climate) and are structured to focus on conventional thermal resources (making representations of renewables and storage more difficult). Meanwhile electrification and a push to retire existing gas and coal resources is resulting in slimmer reserve margins. This project will explore the data, methods, and frameworks that will be needed to address these challenges. It can be taken in multiple directions depending on the fellow’s background and interests.

3. Decarbonization and Energy Security

In the long run, replacing fossil fuels with low carbon alternatives may reduce vulnerability to supply interruption, but in the transition period restricting domestic production of oil and gas for climate reasons might increase that vulnerability. Electrifying transportation and other end uses is essential for decarbonization but places a premium on grid reliability and secure supplies of strategic materials. This project will use energy modeling to derive quantitative metrics that can be used to compare the energy security implications of different decarbonization pathways, with a goal of informing policy choices in the U.S. and globally.  An ideal skillset for the project includes a technical foundation in energy, an understanding of geopolitics, facility with Excel and Tableau, and experience with geospatial analysis tools.

4. 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.

5. 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. Hands-on understanding of energy consumption in buildings is helpful but not required.

6. Propose your own research project

If you think you have a great idea for a summer project that is not on this list but that relates to the research being done at EER, feel free to propose something new. We also invite you to send an email to gage interest in a particular topic before submitting an application.

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