Sipping From the Firehose

Guest blogger: Andy Bilich

Today is a particularly hectic day:

8:30-9:00 Working group call on battery storage and energy efficiency
9:00-10:00 Working group call on future renewable energy integration
10:00-10:15 Finalize infographic on electricity ramping
10:15-11:00 Review comments on the Utilities’ Energy Resource Plans
11:30-12:00 Meet with boss to talk strategy for an upcoming advocacy meeting
12:30-4:30 Residential utility rates workshop downtown with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

And…at some point I also need to update my excel model so I can finish writing my summer research report. My boss describes the sometimes overwhelming pace of information and activity at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as “sipping from the fire hose.” It certainly felt that way at the beginning of the summer, but at this point I am well-versed in the routine.

It was the week before finals this past spring quarter and I was one of the few students who still hadn’t lined up plans for the summer. On June 3rd I finally got a call from my now current boss—They needed an intern. I had interviewed for the position back in March and never heard anything, so to say I was surprised is a huge understatement. Two weeks later, I was gazing out the giant glass windows of our 28th floor office at the start of my internship with EDF’s California Clean Energy Team in San Francisco.

Just half an hour into that first day I was pulled into a meeting with my boss and some utility representatives. Sitting there mentally treading water amidst the alphabet soup of utility acronyms I remember thinking to myself “Oh man what have I gotten myself into?” Now after months of analyzing
California’s electricity grid and the integration of large scale renewable energy, I can probably tell you way more than you want to know about the ICAs in the IOU’s DRPs (don’t worry I won’t!).

Overall this summer couldn’t have gone much better for me. I had an amazing opportunity to work and learn along the frontier of energy development in California. Looking back over my experiences this summer I realize that not only can I manage sipping from the fire hose…but hey, I kinda like the taste.

Andy Bilich is a 2016 MESM student, specializing in Climate and Energy. This summer he is working as a Clean Energy Analyst Intern with the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco.


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