Fellowship Openings

Establishing Community Based Clean Energy Programs to Fight Climate Change (CLOSED)

Project: Establishing Community Based Clean Energy Programs to Fight Climate Change

Agency: City of San Jose - San Jose Clean Energy

Location: San Jose, CA

Project Context

On May 16, 2017, the San José City Council voted unanimously to establish San José Clean Energy (SJCE), San José’s Community Choice Energy (CCE) Program, to offer individuals and businesses additional renewable-energy options at competitive rates. The program will make San José the largest jurisdiction in California to operate a Community Choice Energy Program, with the goal of meeting the city’s climate-action goals within five-to-ten years. The implementation of San Jose Clean Energy is a tremendous opportunity for San José to offer its community members a choice of energy providers, create new local jobs to foster economic growth, generate revenue for the community, offer myriad renewable energy options resulting in lowered energy rates, and contribute to reducing the risks associated with global climate change.

The launch of San José’s CCE program allows the city to thoughtfully develop clean-energy options that offer positive benefits to every member of the community, including the creation of more than one hundred clean energy jobs. To support this work, SJCE and the City of San José will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year, who will take the lead in developing a roadmap of clean energy customer programs that the SJCE will ultimately fund to benefit the residents of San Jose.


Project Summary & Potential Deliverables

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in September 2018, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will actively collaborate with the SJCE, its advisory commission, and key stakeholders, in both the public and private sectors, to define goals and evaluate the value of appropriate clean energy customer programs. The fellow will foster relationships with the San José City Council, tech companies like Google and Microsoft as well as community and neighborhood groups to gather user based feedback to determine which incentive programs will be most valuable to SJCE’s customers and community.

Along with emotional intelligence and sound business and community-relations skills, the FUSE Fellow should be both detail-oriented and a big-picture thinker, and possess and understand the renewable energy options and challenges that exist in both the public and private energy sectors. Equal parts analyst and relationship builder, the ideal candidate is a leader who can take point on vetting and assessing a multitude of ideas from businesses, public-sector stakeholders, and individual community members to identify viable clean energy customer programs to meet the SJCE’s goals and set the CCE program up for long-term success.

By partnering with the community and generating excitement about the benefits of the CCE program for the City of San José, the FUSE Fellow will effectively bring stakeholders along while thoroughly giving all proposed options equal consideration before developing a cost-benefit analysis of the clean energy customer programs stakeholders wish to pursue. In pursuit of setting the SJCE up to begin implementing the proposed recommendations in late 2019, the FUSE Fellow will ultimately create a set of deliverables describing the most comprehensive clean-energy benefits for the community as a whole.


  • Conduct benchmarking analysis: Research and identify a comprehensive inventory of clean energy customer program services. Examples could include solar incentive programs, electric vehicle and battery storage incentives, wind energy initiatives, energy efficiency program opportunities and more. Document the program details associated with each option such as start-up costs, operating costs, human capital investments, magnitude of desired impact, and tradeoffs.
  • Document community priorities: Using a human-centered design approach to gathering stakeholder feedback, engage public officials (such as the San José City Council), key business stakeholders, and community-action groups in constructive dialogue and brainstorming to understand which program offerings would be most valuable to each constituency. Collect all feedback and synthesize findings to inform the final clean energy customer program design.
  • Define goals and evaluate effectiveness: In partnership with community stakeholders, define the goals for the clean energy customer programs and map them to the larger departmental and citywide climate goals. Develop a cost-benefit framework to evaluate each program option identified above and recommend a path forward that delivers the most clean-energy benefits equitably for the City of José.
  • Deliver a final roadmap and launch an early stage pilot: Develop a comprehensive implementation framework for launching the preferred clean energy customer programs. Provide detailed program timelines, milestones, resources and partners needed to launch the effort. If feasible, initiate an early stage pilot of one of the recommended community benefit programs before the conclusion of the fellowship year and demonstrate early wins for the program.


Key Stakeholder

  • Lori Mitchell, Director of Community Energy, San José Community Energy



  • At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, such as the energy or power utility sector as well as renewable energy or technology entrepreneurship. Preference will also be given to candidates with a particularly strong background in community-relationship building.
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
  • Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
  • Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
  • Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
  • Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
  • Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.