Summer Research Intern (PAID): Developing US & Canadian Electric Power Transmission Network Models for Power Sector Simulations

Do you want to begin a career in academic or policy research? Are you interested in contributing to impactful, balanced research that is aimed at improving environmental, energy and natural resource decisions? A summer research internship with Resources for the Future (RFF) might be right for you. The RFF summer internship program provides an opportunity for students to prepare for careers that engage in academic and policy-relevant research. Interns are essential members of the Resources for the Future (RFF) Research and Policy Engagement team. They are responsible for providing technical support that, under the direction of RFF Fellows, allows for the production of compelling and impactful research that aligns with RFF’s mission of improving environmental, energy and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement.  

Our research internships are a 10-week program paid at $16.10 an hour for up to 35 hours a week. Internships will run from June 6, 2022- August 12, 2022. Start or end dates can be changed with an approved exception. All internships will be conducted in RFF’s offices in Washington, DC.  


Vaccine Policy. RFF has made the safety of our staff and community a top priority. As a part of that commitment, all staff and visitors are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the CDC. RFF will require all staff and visitors to submit proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 to work in our buildings. 

RFF’s mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial, evidence-based economic research and policy engagement. We are committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy. We envision a future where climate change no longer threatens our well-being and where smart environmental decisions help to uplift communities around the world.  Our experts bring the brightest thinking to bear on our future, while having shaped many of the world’s most successful environmental decisions and policies over the past 70 years.  Our work broadly centers on the economics and design of smart strategies to reduce sectoral and economy-wide emissions of greenhouse gases, and policies that confront climate change risks and build resilience. We also increasingly emphasize issues related to equity, economic transition, and disaggregated climate and policy impacts, not solely aggregate outcomes.   

We are seeking an intern to support an ongoing project titled Developing US & Canadian Electric Power Transmission Network Models for Power Sector Simulations. RFF’s Engineering, Economic, and Environmental Electricity Simulation Tool (E4ST) power sector model provides guidance to policymakers and stakeholders about the likely effects of potential environmental policies, energy policies, transmission investments, and generation investments. E4ST uses models of the eastern, western, and Texas electricity transmission grids (EI, WECC, and ERCOT, respectively). To reduce the number of nodes (busbars) in them from tens of thousands to thousands, we use a modified version of a simplification process called “Ward reduction,” which you can find described in this abstract and paper. The objective of this internship is to make updated simplified models of the EI, WECC, and ERCOT transmission grids, using this modified Ward reduction process.  This internship is an excellent opportunity to become involved in advanced power sector modeling for policy analysis and planning, to make an important contribution to that kind of modeling, and to develop and demonstrate your power system modeling skills. 


Qualifications, Experience & Competencies  

  • Education: Graduate student or outstanding rising senior in electrical engineering, or similarly suitable training and/or experience. Also, a graduate or upper undergraduate course in power system analysis. 
  • Necessary Skills  
    • Ability to use a power system calculation tool such as PSS/E, PowerWorld or PSLF  
    • Experience with MATLAB programming  
  • Desirable Skills   
    • Strong information and data gathering skills  
    • Strong writing and communication skills 

All applications must be submitted electronically. Please complete the application and required cover letter, beginning the name of each file with your last name.  

  • Resume summarizing your experiences and qualifications for the position  
  • Copy of your academic transcript(s) (unofficial transcripts are acceptable at this stage)  
  • The name, address, phone number and email information for three references