Environmental Defense Fund: Sustainable Energy Puerto Rico Fellow

Apply here. (Applications due Friday, January 25, 2019)

Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for this position.

Website: www.edf.org

Location: Boston, MA

Fellowship Position

Position title: Sustainable Energy Puerto Rico Fellow

Department: EDF + Business

Reports to:  Sustainable Finance Manager, EDF+Business

Address of fellowship placement: 18 Tremont Street Suite 850 Boston, MA 02108

Department Description

EDF+Business pioneered the NGO-private sector engagement model and has effectively wielded it to realize measurable financial and environmental results across industries and business disciplines. We globally challenge the private sector to innovate and adopt new practices, technologies and policies that turn it into an engine to drive sustainability and create a world where the private sector thrives by valuing, protecting and improving the environment. Our engagements achieve aggressive environmental goals – and set new industry standards. To multiply the benefits, we widely publicize the innovations, motivating competing companies to reach and exceed these new standards. Current efforts include greening the global supply chain; transitioning to a new low-carbon energy future; slowing near-term climate change by limiting climate-forcing emissions of methane; and, unlocking the influence, expertise and capital of the financial marketplace to protect the environment and improve livelihoods.

Position Description

A little over a year ago, Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s electric grid, creating a public health emergency and threatening access to clean drinking water, medical services, food security, and other basic needs. While some parts of the grid have been rebuilt, many remote areas of the island are still without electricity. Both the physical electric grid, and the traditional utility mindset that governs it, have failed the people of Puerto Rico, most particularly the rural poor. As climate change makes the frequency and severity of storms like Maria more common, a new approach to providing electricity to the island is needed.

For this reason, a cross-programmatic team of EDF staff from the Energy Program, Political Affairs and EDF+Business have come together under a new three year initiative to develop and deploy clean, low carbon microgrids in the rural areas of Puerto Rico hardest hit by Hurricane Maria and least well-served by the current system. Our goal is to demonstrate that low carbon microgrids provide cleaner, less expensive, more reliable electricity to rural communities than traditional approaches to rural electrification, and that microgrids deserve a central role in utility planning in Puerto Rico.

As the High Meadows Fellow dedicated to this new effort, he or she will have the opportunity to engage and contribute across our plan’s six core elements:

  • Provide technical guidance and analysis to build a convincing case that low carbon microgrids are an economically and environmentally better choice for providing rural communities in Puerto Rico with safe, reliable, resilient power.
  • Build the business case for funding the deployment of a new microgrid, and create a new financial structure to attract private capital.
  • Work with political, financial and technical allies to catalyze the construction of the new, model microgrid.
  • Engage local partners and leverage EDF expertise from U.S. utility reform initiatives to support the reform of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).
  • Collaborate with and advise a group of utility executives who have been asked to advise PREPA.
  • Conduct a comprehensive political and communications campaign to raise awareness and build
  • support for microgrid development and a modern electric grid.

Because the EDF+Business team’s primary role within this effort is to lead the creation of a replicable and scalable financial structure that attracts private capital to our microgrid investment(s), this workstream will also be the primary focus for the new fellow, with 2-3 secondary focus areas to be determined by the leading candidate’s particular skillset and interests. During the Fellow’s two-year tenure, one or more opportunities will be provided for the Fellow to travel to Puerto Rico in support of the initiative, providing valuable on-the-ground experience.

As one of EDF’s newest and most highly visible initiatives to drive the clean energy economy, the Puerto Rico project will offer the High Meadows Fellow an incredible opportunity to join a dynamic team of EDF leaders, including Jake Hiller, Dan Whittle, Ronny Sandoval, Andy Darrell, Vic Rojas and others. This team intends to drive impact and transform the energy system, economic advancement and future of Puerto Rico.

Examples of specific responsibilities, projects, tasks, and/or duties of the Fellow include:

  • Conduct upfront landscape analysis through desk research and outreach to external experts to assess available public and private capital sources that could be directed toward microgrid development and grid resiliency in Puerto Rico.
  • Determine specific stakeholders within the public, private and nonprofit sectors that could serve as ideal allies to engage with to develop and implement a financing structure for a new microgrid.
  • Develop a clear understanding of the risks and motivations of potential public, private and nonprofit investors in Puerto Rican microgrids.
  • Support team in developing investor outreach strategy and communications materials, working closely with external partners and consultants.
  • Coordinate with consultants to conduct feasibility assessment of replicable and scalable financing structures for renewable microgrids in Puerto Rico.
  • Research appropriate media outlets to help EDF amplify priority messages and reach investor audiences. Assist in development of blogs, webinars, social media, and other communications tactics that raise the profile of our effort and attract growing attention to Puerto Rican microgrid deployment.
  • Attend external meetings and conferences to assist in networking and representing EDF’s work in Puerto Rico with investor audiences.

Qualifications

  • A bachelor's degree with significant coursework in environmental studies, energy, economics, finance, international relations, or policy;
  • A broad understanding of global environmental issues and a basic understanding of macroeconomics, finance and investing, and global trade;
  • Interest and/or background in renewable energy and financial markets;
  • Strong research and analytical skills to support highly visible work;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, ideally but not required in Spanish as well as English, and the ability to work with colleagues and partners of varied backgrounds;
  • An ability to work both independently and as a member of small teams in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment;
  • Exceptional personal organization and strong attention to detail;
  • An ability to manage a diverse workload;
  • Proficiency in MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint;
  • An understanding of and commitment to Environmental Defense Fund’s mission of preserving the natural systems on which all life depends.

Professional Development

High Meadows Fellows are provided 5% of their work time to dedicate to their own professional development pursuits, including quarterly in-depth conversations with the Fellow’s supervisor to make direct valuable networking connections and shape the core work product to meet the Fellow’s career development goals. Additionally, EDF actively encourages Fellows to interact with staff at all levels of the organization throughout their two year stay. In the past, Fellows working with the EDF+Business program have had the opportunity to interact with the EDF executives as well as members of the EDF Board of Trustees. Ready access to EDF experts through regular brown bag sessions and email listservs as well as to the vibrant and growing group of other Fellows and Princeton alumni gives High Meadows Fellows an incredible opportunity to build their professional network immediately after finishing college. In this particular position, the Fellow will have the benefit of being managed by a Princeton graduate and former High Meadows alum, Jake Hiller, who is deeply acquainted with the program and has coached many High Meadows fellows over his career at EDF.