Clean Energy Economist

With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.

The EDF Clean Energy Program is transforming the U.S. electricity system by rewriting outdated regulations, spurring energy services markets, and modernizing our century-old electric grid from a system of centralized, fossil fuel power plants to an intelligent, connected network that smoothly integrates clean energy resources. We are fostering a smart grid that empowers customers to lower their utility bills by expanding choices for more resilient, efficient, and cleaner electricity. 

EDF is accomplishing this by:

  • Spurring the paradigm shift in the electric utility industry by advocating for new utility business models and regulatory approaches that base utility earnings on performance rather than investments in new infrastructure and align monopoly utility interests with enabling clean energy services instead of simply delivering electricity;
  • Optimizing the electric grid’s performance by driving investments in high-performing, efficient and intelligent equipment and operations and letting customers choose when they use electricity based on cost through demand response and time-variant pricing;
  • Promoting competition by fairly valuing clean energy through solid economic analysis to support accurate electricity price signals for energy efficiency and clean energy as well as ensuring customers have timely access to their energy usage data in order to respond to those signals; and
  • Unleashing the potential of private capital by introducing new financial products and new protocols that reduce clean energy transaction costs and help avoid the high upfront costs of energy improvements.
Overall Function

The Economist will conduct in depth economic analysis to help shape the organization’s policy positions and support its advocacy. Such analysis will include original publishable research, “in-house” analyses for use by other staff within the organization, as well as white papers aimed at policy makers, journalists, and the public at large. The Economist will located on the East Coast, preferably in New York, Raleigh, DC or Boston.New York City headquarters. S/he will report to the Senior Director of the Clean Energy Idea Bank, and will work with other economists, energy analysts, policy specialists, advocacy experts and attorneys throughout EDF. S/he may also have managerial responsibilities for more junior staff.

The clean energy Idea bank is an in house analytical unit set up to undertake research and analysis to support the advocacy positions taken by the state advocacy leads in California, Illinois, Florida, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. Its work is split over six work areas:
  1. Responses to state team requests for research and analysis in economic, finance, engineering, technical, policy, and environmental science fields, including identification of and coordination with key experts both internal to EDF or external,
  2. Dissemination of successful policies and initiatives to other states, federal legislative efforts and rulemaking and, as a growth area, potentially internationally,
  3. Evaluation of options for “refining” existing EDF policy tools to ensure successful replication in a specific new state or new context,
  4. Incubation and evaluation of new policy ideas and/or other new opportunities,
  5. Engagement in original research in support of clean energy policies,
  6. Supporting the development of internal performance metrics to help track the overall performance of the clean energy program against its stated goals.

Key Responsibilities
  • Working with members of the clean energy idea bank and state advocacy leads to undertake economic analysis of policy options to promote clean energy and reduce energy consumption;
  • Produce white papers, fact sheets, case studies and best practice manuals for economic policy options to help state advocacy leads meet their goals.
  • Respond to requests from state advocacy leads, senior management and idea bank members for research and analysis on economic and policy issues
  • Summarizing research for a broad audience, as well as public communications including Congressional testimony, Op-Eds, articles, and blog posts;
  • Providing material to support testimony in public utility commission hearings, legislative sessions and convenings of the National Electricity Reliability Council and Federal Energy Regulatory Comission.
  • Working with EDF’s development team, including communicating with donors and foundations and writing proposals to secure funding;
  • Participating in the development of public positions taken by Environmental Defense Fund;
  • Representing Environmental Defense Fund at public meetings including policy makers, academic conferences and workshops, gatherings of advocacy organizations, and the general public.


  • Masters in economics required
  • PhD in economics desirable
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Proven ability to conduct cutting-edge research;
  • Ability to convey economic concepts to non-economists;
  • Ability to deploy a diversity of analytical approaches, theoretical and/or econometric studies to back-of-the-envelope analyses;
  • Self-direction and independence of mind;
  • Interest in relating economic research to real-world policy and in bridging the worlds of advocacy and academia;
  • Familiarity with the empirical and theoretical literature on environmental economics, in particular the design of regulatory policy (e.g. instrument choice).

This position will be located on the East Coast, Preferably in New York, Raleigh, DC or Boston.

Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, EDF is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.

Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer
March 6, 2015
Regular Full-Time
Various, United States