Clean Energy Intern – Building Electrification

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Are you interested in exploring a career at an internationally-recognized environmental organization? By joining EDF as an Intern, you too 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. EDF’s Internship Program welcomes intellectually hungry leaders to join us, advance our work, and cultivate the skills and relationships needed for a successful career working for the environment. Alumni of our Internship Program have gone on to important leadership positions, most notably our own President, Fred Krupp. Could you be the next Fred Krupp?

 

EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of programs and departments throughout the organization. The ultimate goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career.

 

The EDF New York Clean Energy team seeks a summer intern to support our “Beneficial Electrification” project, which will perform ground-breaking analysis to develop strategies to hasten electrification of energy end uses that involve the combustion of fossil fuels in New York in order to achieve deep decarbonization of New York’s economy.  The Summer Intern will focus primarily on building electrification.

 

The Opportunity

With fossil fuel combustion accounting for nearly 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions, clean energy is a critical part of the race to reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The state’s aggressive Clean Energy Standard has begun a process to ensure every greater reliance on renewable generation, a process similar to what has been embraced by many other states such as California and Illinois.  However, with less than 20% of New York greenhouse gas emissions coming from electric generation, and electric generation already becoming less emissions-intensive over time, it is essential to ensure similar reductions in emissions from non-electric applications (the remaining 80% of GHG emissions) occur, though beneficial electrification or otherwise. 

 

How to bring various non-electric energy end uses (including, without limitation transportation, building heating, and industrial processes) into the electric sector, such that their emissions can reduce automatically as the generation mix becomes ever cleaner, is a key challenge at this juncture. After many years of engagement in the electric sector modernization efforts underway in New York, EDF’s New York Clean Energy team is increasingly focused on the analytical, policy, and political challenges of making the environmental benefits of electric sector modernization available to the rest of the economy. 

 

For almost a decade, New York has participated in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a northeastern regional scheme for capping carbon emissions of large electric generators.  The RGGI scheme has been associated with emissions reductions, but at a pace insufficient to serve New York’s ambitious, economy-wide emissions reduction goals.  In mid-2016, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), a federally-jurisdictional entity that oversees New York’s bulk power system, introduced the concept of carbon-based dispatch: a mechanism for incorporating a more complete carbon price signal in the wholesale market, which would allow non-emitting and low-emitting generators a competitive advantage over higher emitters, reducing or eliminating the need for direct subsidies to recognize their value.  NYISO retained the services of the Brattle Group to consider the ramifications of such a mechanism.  Subsequently, in August, Brattle released its analysis, which found that for reasons of emissions leakage to other states in the region as well as due to the substantial emissions occurring outside the electric sector, a mechanism reflecting the social cost of carbon in the wholesale electric markets would not by itself bring New York much closer to its ambitious carbon dioxide reduction goals.

 

Since there is no electric-sector carbon price that would create an incentive for electrification, and since high carbon prices in that sector alone would even create disincentives, New York needs to develop a coherent strategy for achieving the necessary decarbonization at a large scale, rapidly.  The New York Clean Energy team seeks to contribute to this strategy development by providing analytic support, developing policy recommendations based on sound science and economics, and supporting the adoption of effective policy mechanisms where possible.  Such a strategy could ultimately be adopted by other states and regions with similar goals and challenges.

 

Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • The Summer Intern will report to the Clean Energy Director and will work closely with all members of the NY Clean Energy team.
  • Evaluate opportunities for beneficial electrification in buildings, with an emphasis on the following:
    • Quantifying building energy use and associated emissions by fuel type in specific regions.
    • Emissions impact of full conversion from fossil fuels to electricity based on emissions of current electricity grid mix
    • Additional renewable energy electric generation capacity necessary to power 100% of building energy use converted from fossil fuels.
    • Quantify building efficiency improvements required to achieve GHG reductions of 30%, 50% and 80% respectively.
    • Estimate costs associated with various approaches.
    • Identify practical opportunities for converting traditional fossil fuel use in buildings to electricity.
    • Rate design opportunities for enhancing beneficial electrification in buildings
  • Draft and finalize a report relative to the findings of this project and provide a briefing to the leadership team of the Clean Energy program regarding the report and various findings and recommendations.

 

Qualifications

  • Demonstrated interest in and ability to conduct independent research with limited direction.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Superior skills in MS Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint.
  • An understanding of and commitment to Environmental Defense Fund’s mission of protecting the natural environment and limiting humankind’s impact on the planet.
  • Must be well organized, motivated, and detail-oriented.
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to work in a team setting and have the ability to work independently when projects are due.
  • Demonstrate initiative and problem solving skills.

 

Location

New York, NY

 

Term

10 weeks during the summer

 

Hours

Full-time (35 hours/week)

 

Application Materials

Interested applicants should attach their cover letter and resume to the EDF application, together with a writing sample.  Writing sample should be no longer than 5 pages.

 

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 where an applicant’s qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

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