Senior Policy Associate, Electric Vehicles

Team: Energy Transition
Employment Status: FTE (full time)
Salary Range: $55,000 – $70,000
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota – Hybrid

Position Summary

  1. Are you excited to learn about electric vehicles, charging, utilities, and their roles in tackling climate change?
  2. Do you enjoy reading, writing, and analyzing, with an attention to detail?
  3. Does deep thinking, strategizing, and collaboration bring you joy?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the above, please consider applying! Our Senior Policy Associates typically have 3 to 7 years of professional experience, though we will consider applications for folks who have a little less or more experience or who have other experience but have transferable skills they want to adapt to the clean energy space.

FOCUS: This role will be focused on supporting and eventually leading our regulatory work, particularly at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), a state agency tasked with overseeing utilities. The core of this role is strategy, such as convincing decisionmakers to take the actions we think will help reach out state’s climate goals sooner; aligning other parties at the PUC on our positions and finding common paths forward; and identifying pathways for actions outside the PUC that nonetheless impact utilities and/or will hinder or promote getting more electric vehicles in use.

Specific tasks will include: reviewing utilities’ electric vehicle charging programs and plans; figuring out what’s important to focus on within those plans (and what might be missing); writing comments with a small coalition; and appearing in front of the PUC to advocate for our positions. This role will also support a TBD electric vehicle campaign in 2025, and become the policy and technical lead at Fresh Energy on charging and vehicle electrification, especially for personal vehicles. This role is highly collaborative, and will facilitate discussions among our coalition partners and other interested groups.

EQUITY: A core part of this role is considering how to make electric vehicles and charging more accessible and affordable for renters, multifamily housing residents, and under-resourced households, as well as communities of color and those living in rural areas. Read more about Fresh Energy’s commitment to equity here.

KEY SKILLS for this role include:

  • READING: High level of reading comprehension, e.g. regulatory documents, statutes, reports, etc.
  • WRITING: Strong writing, especially able to craft an argument and incorporate reports and references, and write to different audiences.
  • ANALYZING: Comfort with analyzing and interpreting data and numbers, identifying trends, and figuring out the bigger picture of what’s happening.
  • COLLABORATING: Willingness to listen, ask questions, consider, and seek multiple viewpoints from nonprofit partners, utilities, regulatory staff, private companies, and more.
  • MANAGING WORKFLOW: Ability to set, prioritize, and manage tasks to completion, in collaboration with manager and partner organizations

While knowledge of electric vehicles or the clean energy space – from the academic, business, nonprofit, policy, or public perspective – is a bonus, having the skills to be successful in this role and an interest in the role itself, as outlined above, is most important.

If this all sounds interesting to you, read on for more details!

Job overview and requirements

Fresh Energy is hiring a full-time Senior Policy Associate to support the vision of the Transportation department to electrify the way we move ourselves and goods, in a manner that promotes public health, brings down costs, and is accessible to everyone while also helping Minnesota tackle climate change.

Minnesota is at a crucial juncture in the transition to an electrified transportation future. Electric vehicle (EV) sales are up in the state, and historic levels of federal and state funding are available to get more charging infrastructure built. With momentum for EVs building, we must now clear its path of hurdles and hindrances.

After several years of advocacy focused on regulatory action like Clean Cars Minnesota and shaping the utilities’ role in EV adoption, we now need to ensure that a robust and reliable charging infrastructure is built state-wide to support more EVs (e.g. cars, pick-ups, buses) on ours roads, while also planning for and coordinating continued growth across EVs, building electrification, and renewable energy. Much of this work has and will continue to take place at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, or PUC.

Fresh Energy has been both a consistent and persistent presence at the PUC for many years. Advocating for more EV charging programs from electric utilities to support EV adoption and optimize grid use is a major way we have accomplished our transportation climate goals. This role will continue this important work, while also deepening and expanding our efforts in this area. This may include analyzing the wealth of data available through utilities and the state on EV ownership and charging patterns; working proactively with teams within Fresh Energy (e.g. Clean Electricity, Buildings) to coordinate grid planning and rate design; and regularly meeting with external parties (e.g. national nonprofit partners, companies, utilities, etc.) to understand improvements and innovations needed in the electric utility space to advance equitable deployment of EVs. This role will also identify new pathways and strategies to be successful at the PUC and in related areas, once the new hire is up to speed.

This role will require a lot of reading, long form writing, and deep thinking. It will also require teamwork and talking to others – both in formal and informal settings – to understand the EV landscape and map out what needs to happen next in Minnesota on EV policy to reach our state and international climate goals quickly and equitably.

This role will prioritize formal and informal efforts at the PUC and with utilities. This role will also likely need to consider the private market for EV charging; financing and funding EV charging for hard-to-reach customers such as renters and multifamily housing residents; and how to support heavier vehicle charging, such as for school or transit buses. Fresh Energy also works regularly at the state legislature and within coalition spaces. This role may engage in these other, non-regulatory areas, depending on strategic value, interest and capacity.

Our story

As experts in energy and climate, Fresh Energy understands that there are solutions within reach that can help us prevent the very worst damages of climate change. For over 30 years, Fresh Energy has been speeding Minnesota’s transition to a clean energy economy to ensure that our region enjoys good health, a vibrant economy, and thriving, equitable communities today and for generations to come. Our mission is to shape and drive bold policy solutions to create equitable carbon-neutral economies by 2050.

Our work employs attorneys, scientists, policy analysts, finance, and development staff. They are involved in programs from grid infrastructure policy, resource planning, buildings, industry, transportation, equity, journalism and communications. You can read more about our team here: https://fresh-energy.org/meet-our-staff  

Fresh Energy’s mission in all its functions and sectors is guided by our strategic plan. This plan provides an overview of the organizational approach and direction and reviewed periodically by the board and Fresh Energy employees. Fresh Energy is currently refreshing its strategic plan, with a new one expected to be announced in late fall 2024.

Reports to

Managing Director, Transportation

Essential responsibilities

The responsibilities below form the basis for this role, and will be the focus of growth and development within the first 12 months of hire.

A. Summary: A Senior Policy Associate role in the Transportation program within the Energy Transition department to help shape our advocacy to advance electric transportation, primarily in the regulatory system, so that we meet our state’s climate goals and mitigate the worst impacts from climate change.

  • Conduct regulatory, legislative, policy, and technical analysis related to policy proposals, changes, and approaches, individually and with collaborators.
  • Make written and oral presentations to collaborators, utilities, regulators, policy makers, and other interested parties as part of the program’s outreach and advocacy functions.
  • Hold responsibility for specific elements of the Transportation program area related to vehicle electrification, including identifying opportunities for engaging with other parties and with policies.
  • In collaboration with the Communications department, create and publish blogs, reports, white papers, web content, e-newsletters, and other program information. When appropriate, work to optimize media coverage of program goals, activities, and successes; this may include media interviews as well as writing op-ed pieces, and also includes the recruitment and training of effective messengers.
  • Develop and serve as a subject matter specialist, working with the Managing Director and department leads, to ensure that the transition away from fossil fuels in the transportation sector is accelerated by ensuring a robust, reliable electric vehicle charging system exists by 2030, including at-home and public charging, and that regulatory and legislative policy is designed to incentivize vehicle electrification for all Minnesotans.
  • Actively identify and implement cross department opportunities to better achieve Fresh Energy’s mission and imperatives through work between or across teams such as Buildings, Industry, Clean Electricity, Public Affairs, Communications, and Energy Access and Equity.

B. Participate in culture of collaboration and model our core values.

  • Exemplifying openness, humility, and continuously seeking improvements in program, policy, workflow, organizational expertise, or individual skills.
  • Shape and support organization-wide systems such as our fundraising activities, career development, and performance review systems.
  • Work effectively in the context of your immediate team, the broader Fresh Energy team, and with external partners; enhance collaboration by maintaining honest communication, discovering and respecting diverse viewpoints, engendering trust, fulfilling responsibilities, and ensuring that all team members and their contributions are valued.
  • Model organization core values and culture such as practicing the coach approach, nurturing an intrapreneurial attitude, embracing a learning attitude as means to progress professionally, developing work autonomy, acting with honesty and integrity and collaboratively seeking ways to advance equity and justice. You can read more about our core values and mission here: https://fresh-energy.org/about-us.
  • Exhibit a clear commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and provide leadership in continually advancing Fresh Energy’s commitment to equity and being an anti-racist organization. You can read more here: https://fresh-energy.org/our-commitment-to-diversity-equity-and-inclusion.

C. Demonstrate capacity for growth and learning and engage with opportunities which support Fresh Energy’s overall mission and strategy.

Job qualifications

Preferred experience and/or abilities:

  • Strong background and/or interest in clean energy policy topics related to vehicle electrification, including charging infrastructure and business models, utility programs and planning, optimizing use of renewable energy, rate design, and issues of equity and access.
  • Ability to conduct rigorous information-gathering and compile findings into easily digestible and compelling formats.
  • A learning and growth mindset, with regard to individual skills and experiences and exposure to unfamiliar subjects. A willingness to ask questions and learn by doing.
  • Experience engaging, guiding, and working collaboratively with a variety of parties across different interests (e.g. coalition work, project management, etc.).
  • Experience and/or willingness and ability to present before regulators, policymakers, utilities, and other key parties.
  • Experience and/or willingness and ability to engage in regulatory, legislative, and administrative proceedings.
  • Experience and/or willingness to seek out perspectives and resources regarding equity and access, and consider how to design policies and processes to reach equitable outcomes.
  • Preferred candidates will have a Bachelor’s degree with 3 to 7 years of professional experience, or a Master’s or Law degree or similar with 1 to 4 years of professional experience.

Additional skills:

  • Planful and results-oriented, with strong written and verbal communication skills
  • High level proficiency with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Comfortable conducting and facilitating virtual meetings (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams), or learning how to do so.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate professionally with a culturally diverse group of co-workers, external collaborators, and donors.
  • Team player who desires to work somewhere teamwork is valued and practiced.
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills and ability to prioritize workload in a timely manner to complete assignments with many deadlines and competing requirements, with support from the Managing Director as needed.
  • Experience in working at a nonprofit or organization working in energy, the environment or related field a plus.
  • Ability and capacity to travel 10% of the time locally or regionally.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform well in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to work occasional evenings/weekends is required.

Compensation and benefits

Starting salary range: $55,000 to $70,000 based on experience with opportunity for compensation change based on program growth, annual market assessment, equity across the organization, and organizational strategy. 

Fresh Energy continues to evolve with the goal of co-creating a human-centric workplace. This goal is supported by employee policies which are reviewed annually in concert with employee input. As employees and external environment change, Fresh Energy endeavors to keep its employee policies relevant, progressive, and innovative, so that Fresh Energy becomes a more enjoyable workspace to be in and a productive place to work at. We hope each candidate can envision what a great place our Fresh Energy community are creating together.

Benefits include:

  • Full-time, exempt position, working 36 hours per week. We believe in caring for others at work and at home. Fresh Energy is committed to keeping the workload in alignment with the true hours worked and respecting the space needed to take personal time to care for your wellbeing and your family members.  
  • Front-loaded 24 days of PTO (increases each year of employment) from day 1 of employment, 15 paid holidays, and a flexible, family-friendly schedule; every Fridays the office closes at noon.  
  • We provide medical and dental plans, additional voluntary vision, short- and long-term disability, life, AD&D insurance, and 5 percent of annual salary contribution to your 403(b)-retirement plan from your first day at Fresh Energy. Fresh Energy will contribute a match of 1:1 up to 3% of your eligible gross salary should you decide to contribute to your plan. 
  • Fresh Energy contributes to an employee’s FSA and HSA to promote health and wellness which will be annually adjusted based on budget and demand.
  • A one-time work-from-home stipend of $300.
  • In addition, we incentivize transit, biking, and walking, offering a dollar-for-dollar bus pass match, $1 for each trip to and from work by bike or walk, and an indoor bike storage area, as well as gym, and showers available for Fresh Energy staff as part of being a tenant of the Historic Hamm Building.  
  • We pay 50% of the day’s parking for a full-time employee who would like to use this benefit for business parking (i.e. working from the Fresh Energy Office or in downtown St. Paul) at a covered lot in downtown St. Paul that Fresh Energy contracts with. The Employee will pay the remaining 50% of the daily parking fee. The total cost per Employee is pay-per-use.  
  • Parental and family care leave eligible on the first day of full-time employment. Eligible employees are entitled to up to twelve (12) weeks of leave under this policy. Fresh Energy will pay an eligible employee for the first six (6) weeks of leave with the rest of the leave being unpaid or being paid through the use of PTO.
  • All our employees are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. We update our in-person protocols to safeguard the health and safety for all employees. 
  • We promote and sponsor individual and joint professional workshops and trainings. Each employee is eligible for $1,000 per year to support professional development activities.  
  • We are intentional in co-creating a relevant and inclusive flexible hybrid workplace. We foster a respectful, collaborative, and fun work environment.  

Hiring Process and Timeline

  • The position will remain open until filled. Preference will be given to applications received on or before August 5th (preferred deadline).
    • Applicants may continue to submit after this time, however, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage potential interested applicants to submit an application after the preferred deadline until a hire is made. When a hire is made, this posting will be removed.
  • Our hiring team will select finalists for an initial 45-minute interview via video conference, 1-2 weeks after the preferred deadline passes.
  • Finalists will then be invited back for an approximately 60-minute second-round interview in-person at our office in Saint Paul. At that time, we will ask for three (3) references and two (2) work samples relevant to this role, e.g. a professional writing sample, or other relevant materials.  
  • Ideally the selected candidate would begin work on or before October 1. A later start date may be discussed at the time of offer.

Fresh Energy’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Equal Opportunity Employer Policy reflect our commitment to ensure equality, treat everyone with respect, and promote diversity in the workplace. 

To apply

Email cover letter and resume to the Fresh Energy Hiring Team at hiringteam@fresh-energy.org with the subject line “Senior Policy Associate, Electric Vehicles.” Please include a cover letter and resume in one PDF document with your name as the title. No phone calls, please.