This is an incredibly exciting and dynamic time in the evolution of the US energy landscape. During summer 2020, two UCS Schneider Sustainable Energy Fellows will work directly with Climate and Energy (C&E) Program staff in our Cambridge, Massachusetts, office. We are searching for candidates with a strong interest in energy and climate, who possess solid research and writing skills, and a willingness to take on new challenges and work in a team setting. Graduate-level experience in energy systems, public policy, economics, science, or engineering is preferred, though undergraduates will also be considered. Strong analytic skills would be a definite plus.
While we tailor each Fellow’s projects to best fit their skills and interests and our needs at the time of the Fellowship, some of our current priorities include:
- Supporting UCS efforts to design and advocate for carbon pricing policies that help advance climate, economic, and social equity goals. This research would help inform UCS’s engagement with policymakers, experts, and the media to make the case for a well-designed carbon tax. The Fellow’s responsibilities could include surveying the evolving landscape on carbon pricing and synthesizing key lessons for the US policy context, contributing to fact sheets or web material, and participating in meetings with key stakeholders.
- Supporting UCS efforts to assess and highlight clean energy momentum across the United States, and beyond. Clean energy is thriving like never before, with new records being set—and broken—with regularity. The scale of adoption of renewable energy sources like solar and wind, and energy efficiency, keeps increasing, while the costs keep dropping. The Fellow’s work with UCS energy analysts could include making information on clean energy progress more broadly available, through video, web, social media, and print, to help decision makers and the general public understand the current and near-term realities of our energy options and embrace clean energy options.
- Assisting UCS in promoting renewable energy integration. The Fellow could support work on analyzing and amplifying understanding of the implications of high levels of renewable energy and the effective and efficient integration of renewables into regional electricity supplies. The work could also include encouraging understanding of the range of benefits that renewables can offer to not just individual customers but communities and electricity grids as a whole.
- Helping UCS build understanding of and support for the equitable deployment of energy storage. Energy storage is gaining bipartisan momentum in Washington, DC, and state capitols across the country, but there remains an enormous gap in understanding it and the benefits it can provide to consumers, communities, and industry, and how storage can be promoted in adopted in ways that enhance energy equity. The Fellow could work with UCS analysts to identify the growing potential role and benefits of storage for integrating renewables and achieving deep reductions in emissions, including in disadvantaged communities. The work could also include summarizing promising storage opportunities worthy of research, development, and deployment funding, and helping quantify the potential impacts of federal policies such as storage tax credits and standards.
- Supporting UCS’s analysis of deep decarbonization opportunities and issues. Achieving deep reductions in energy sector emissions by 2050 will require ambitious near- and medium-term policy goals across a range of sectors. The Fellow could focus on opportunities for electrifying space heating, water heating, and more, given the strong near-term opportunities for low- or no-carbon electricity supply. The work could also focus on carbon dioxide removal technologies and issues.
- Assisting UCS’s energy modeling efforts. UCS runs a range of electricity and economy-wide models in-house to help in analyzing and assessing different energy futures, to inform and support public education and policy advocacy. A Fellow with strong analytic and programming skills (Python, for example) could contribute to producing timely and relevant analyses to inform UCS outreach.
- Supporting UCS’s communication and advocacy efforts for advancing clean energy policies and energy equity at the state and federal level. The Fellow could work with UCS energy analysts to provide rapid response data, talking points, resources, and other material helping to counter disinformation about clean energy, renewable electricity standards, solar net metering, and other renewables and efficiency laws, as well as expose the fossil fuel, nuclear, and utility interests behind misleading attacks. The work could also involve a focus on equity considerations in current energy practices and in the transition to clean energy.
Along with being exposed to a range of clean energy issues and allies, UCS Schneider Fellows will be engage fully in the activities of our vibrant Cambridge headquarters, located right in Harvard Square, and will have the opportunity to visit our Washington, DC, office or to participate in other work-related travel.