Senior Manager, Grid Modernization Strategy

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.

 

EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

Energy Program Overview

EDF’s Energy Program works to reduce the climate, health, and environmental impacts of the current energy system while accelerating the transition to a low carbon energy economy with clean energy access for all. We focus on reducing carbon dioxide and methane emissions from oil and gas production, delivery and end-uses; and reducing dependence on oil and gas through reforms to wholesale market rules and through strategic electrification of end-uses, medium/heavy duty vehicles in particular.

 

Project Overview

To facilitate deep greenhouse gas emissions across the United States, the economy as a whole must transition its sources of energy away from fossil fuels in an accelerating manner.  This necessarily includes upgrades to the electrical grid, connected equipment, and the creation of economic signals that spur beneficial consumer choice.  It also includes technological and operational upgrades in the transportation and buildings sectors.  Accomplishing these tasks will not be an easy enterprise and will necessitate new ways of thinking about how the electric grid can both assist and avoid impeding the transition in areas where electrification of end use equipment is highest.

 

The position will support two major project areas within the Energy Program - our effort to deploy clean, resilient microgrids in Puerto Rico and our work to accelerate electrification of medium/heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S.

 

Puerto Rico: Just as EDF has embarked on an ambitious energy transition agenda across the continental U.S., it has also begun implementation of an all-out effort to help restore and improve the energy conditions of Puerto Rico. In 2017, Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s electric grid, leaving the people of Puerto Rico without electricity for many months, creating a public health emergency, and threatening the lives and livelihood of the people there. As evidenced by the prolonged outages across the territory, both the physical electric grid and traditional utility mindset in Puerto Rico need new approaches to providing electricity to the island. To remake the electric system of the territory, EDF is using a combination of rigorous analysis, business and political partnerships, and grid modernization experience to advocate for rural, low carbon microgrids as a viable and essential strategy. This advocacy is also part of a larger effort to set the electric system in Puerto Rico on a path toward a more resilient, distributed, and cleaner electric system than the one that existed before the hurricane. Winning on this issue will require EDF to draw on its extensive experience creating robust coalitions of diverse voices to achieve focused goals, resulting in benefits that accrue to the people across the land.

 

Medium/heavy-duty vehicles: As the world struggles to define pathways to keep global temperature increases below 2C degrees this century, it is clear the projected levels of reliance on oil and gas are unsustainable.  The movement of freight is one of the primary drivers of growth in oil demand over the coming decades.  And while electrification of light-duty vehicles is accelerating rapidly, progress in the medium/heavy-duty sector is slower going.  EDF is working with major fleet operators, manufacturers, electric utilities and other key stakeholders to establish new business, finance and regulatory models to bring down total cost of ownership, facilitate the deployment of critical charging infrastructure and encourage charging with clean energy. Successfully integrating zero emissions medium and heavy duty vehicles into the grid is a core component of a sustained deployment strategy. 

 

Overall Function

The Senior Manager, Grid Modernization Strategy will act as a top-tier expert and advocate for the organization on matters related to design and integration of electric grid modernization technology and techniques. As a senior member of the organization’s Energy Program, the Senior Manager will team up with EDF experts who are working to facilitate electrification of end-use technology, working to reform wholesale gas and electric markets, and to transform the Puerto Rico electric system.  Through strategic engagements on grid modernization, the position will support and create new technological and financial signals for clean energy and reduce aggregate fossil fuel use across the Unites States and within key regions.

 

Through a focused effort in Puerto Rico, the individual will support and engage policy and technology leaders to advance rural, low-carbon microgrids while also facilitating the utility reforms necessary to scale and accelerate those efforts.  Also, by focusing on policy engagements in locations where electrification of heavy and medium-duty vehicles and buildings are creating the most need, the selected individual will jointly devise and implement strategies that manage electric load growth overall, and ensure that electric demand can be met with increasing amounts of clean energy while retaining reliability and cost effective service.  

To be successful in both roles, the selected individual will build durable relationships with key stakeholders, working closely with staff and allies across EDF.

 

Key Responsibilities

  • Work with our energy transition and wholesale markets teams to set and advance energy project goals, objectives, strategies and tactics of EDF and our strategic partners.
  • Serve as EDF in-house technical expert on electric grid modernization - in particular as it relates to: infrastructure to support accelerated deployment of medium/heavy-duty electric vehicles; developing clean, resilient microgrids in rural and/or developing areas; facilitating the participation of clean energy resources in wholesale markets.
  • Conduct engineering review and technical analysis of potential infrastructure investments to ensure consistency with program goals; and work collaboratively with EDF economists and financial experts to conduct cost-benefit analyses of infrastructure proposals and alternatives.
  • Serve as program technical expert on electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE); maintain deep understanding of business trends, regulatory structures and other emerging issues related to EVSE.
  • In coordination with EDF attorneys and advocacy experts, contribute to formal utility commission filings; serve as an expert witness on behalf of EDF; and aid in other formal and informal policy engagements seeking to advance program objectives. 
  • In coordination with EDF’s Puerto Rico team, contribute to formal filings; serve as an expert witness on behalf of EDF; and aid in other formal and informal policy and technology engagements seeking redefine the electric grid conditions in Puerto Rico, including through the design and deployment of pilot projects. 
  • Collaborate with EDF staff on the project to build and foster key relationships with relevant policymakers, industry experts, advocates and technology developers and providers. 
  • Supervise and/or advise energy team staff engaged in grid modernization efforts, and others as needed.

Qualifications

  • Demonstrated expertise in electrical engineering, electric load management technology and techniques, electric grid systems, and relevant electric utility operations combined with electric utility policy and regulation.
  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or closely related field required, with advanced degree strongly preferred.
  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant professional experience required.
  • Extensive experience evaluating and advancing local and regional electric grid readiness strategies, including micro grid deployments, to facilitate the reliable integration of emerging end-use electric technology.
  • Deep knowledge and experience with, electric rate structures, electric grid stabilization and communications technology, electric grid operation and management structures and techniques, and electric utility decision making.
  • Familiarity with electric vehicle design and operation, electric vehicle charging systems and operability a plus.
  • Sophisticated understanding of the policy making process related to electric grid management and modernization, and a strong strategic sense for influencing public policy on electric grid management and modernization.
  • Excellent writing and communication skills, and the ability to turn complex topics into understandable testimony and policy platforms;
  • Bilingual in Spanish and English language fluency strongly perferred, but not required.
  • Demonstrated track record of working with diverse interests.
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental values.
  • Detail oriented, organized, self-starter able to adapt to frequent change and prioritize effectively under constant deadline pressure.
  • Ability to follow guidance from and consult frequently with senior staff.
  • Ability to travel within the continental United States and to Puerto Rico two or more days a month, with overnight stays, and at least one week-long trip per year.
  • Ability to work with a diverse range of people, both inside Environmental Defense Fund and externally.

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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