Renewable Energy Program Associate

Great Plains Institute

Program/Role: Renewable Energy Program Associate
Location: Minneapolis Office: 2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 220
Reports to: Renewable Energy Vice President
Type of Position: Full time, hourly position
Compensation: Salary range: $49,000-$57,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include health plan (medical, dental, and disability), life insurance, competitive 401(k) retirement plan, paid time off, paid family leave, communication stipend, and professional development/tuition assistance.   

Great Plains Institute’s Vision and Working Culture  

A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. We combine a unique consensus-building approach, expert knowledge, research and analysis, and local action to find and implement lasting energy solutions. Our primary focus on equitably decarbonizing our nation’s energy systems also strengthens communities, enhances economic opportunity, creates high paying jobs, expands the nation’s industrial base, and builds energy independence through clean, renewable, and circular energy systems. 

Our strategic areas of focus are renewable energy, carbon management, communities, energy systems, and transportation and fuels.  

Throughout our 25-year history, GPI has built a reputation for bringing together three skills that are rarely found in one organization:  

  • Nationally recognized energy policy and technology expertise 
  • A nuanced understanding of the commercial, local, and political realities that shape the energy sector
  • Well-honed facilitation, group process, consensus-building and advocacy techniques. 

Together, this skill set produces results in nearly any economic and political environment and offers an important antidote to today’s often fractured public discourse.  

GPI has a fast-paced entrepreneurial culture in which people enjoy both great freedom and great responsibility. People who thrive in this culture take personal responsibility for seeing what needs doing and getting it done. They are self-starters, problem-solvers, and quick to help others. They work hard because they believe in the mission and get to spend most of their time at the intersection of what they love to do and are good at. It’s a working environment in which performance is judged more on results than on time spent in a chair. We aspire to make this the best job anyone has ever had. 

This Position  

GPI’s Renewable Energy Program works on a wide variety of projects, working with communities, regional governments, states, and federal agencies to accelerate deployment of renewable energy.  The RE team works to remove barriers to accelerated deployment for both distributed and large-scale wind and solar and emerging clean technologies such as hydrogen. We provide technical assistance and capacity to local and state entities, lead research on co-benefits of solar and wind development, and help create new equitable systems for energy services. 

To further support our audacious mission and vision, GPI is filling an open Program Associate position. The Renewable Energy Program Associate must be passionate about climate, clean energy, community-scale action, equity and inclusion, and enjoy working in an ever-changing environment that is mission-driven and consensus oriented.

The ideal candidate will have the ability to exercise good judgment in a variety of situations, maintain a realistic balance among multiple priorities, perform a wide variety of tasks, utilize effective methods for time management and prioritization of work, and possess the ability to identify and address urgent and important needs in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

Hours may be flexible and are typically Monday through Friday during the business day, occasional nights and weekends may be required. Some work can be remote, but this position will require some time in GPI’s Minneapolis office. 


The RE Program Associate will have primary responsibility for administrative and support task working closely with program staff on a variety of projects, including research, stakeholder engagement and facilitation of decision-making, and technical assistance.

  1. (70%) Program Assistance: The Program Associate for the Renewable Energy Team will work closely with program staff on community, industry, and state agency engagement, manage multiple task forces or steering committees, assist in research projects, and produce reports and documents.
    1. Coordinate with internal staff and external project partners to ensure timelines, deliverables, milestones, and goals are met, including project deliverables and funding proposals. 
    2. Support the development of tools and resources for external stakeholders in coordination with project partners and staff, including production of documents and presentations, laying out reports, developing PowerPoints or other presentation materials. 
    3. Assist with administrative tasks related to grants and other funding sources, both for funds coming into GPI and for contracts to external partners.
    4. Provide research and analytic support to Renewable Energy projects. This can include data collection, analysis and summarizing, phone or in-person interviews, and web research.
    5. Gather, organize, and analyze data in coordination with program staff, working with spreadsheets, geographic information systems, databases, or models.
    6. Compile research results in useful format, assist in writing summaries or blogs, produce other written content for publication or dissemination. 
    7. Coordinate aspects of Renewable Energy Team external communications such as keeping a calendar of project communications deadlines, ensuring that event information is posted to GPI’s websites and updating websites as needed.
  2. (30%) Meeting Coordination: Take the lead in planning GPI’s Renewable Energy meetings and events. GPI meetings can range from two-hour affairs to full-day events. Specific tasks include:
    1. Coordinate meetings with internal and external partners, including scheduling, agenda development (in coordination with program leads), organizing meetings notes, and ensuring follow-ups are carried through.  Conduct outreach to ensure diverse and inclusive participation by communities and stakeholders. 
    2. Assist program staff with project logistics, such as identifying and securing suitable venues for meetings and managing other event logistics including travel and lodging for participants and speakers; food and catering; meeting notes; meeting handouts and packets; name tags; on-site signage; etc.
    3. Help facilitate community and stakeholder engagement sessions, by compiling meeting notes and stakeholder feedback and supporting group discussions and facilitated exercises.
    4. Manage live webinars, including recording both video and audio portions
    5. Serve as the point of contact for speakers & participants’ logistical needs, including organizing registration of event participants, which often includes working with an online service such as Eventbrite.
    6. Conduct post event evaluations to determine how to improve future events
  3. Other programmatic assistance: As requested by Program Managers or Vice President of Renewable Energy.


  1. Educationand Experience: 1-3 years of paid or volunteer experience in working with local or state governments, community organizations, renewable energy development, sustainability, climate, or clean transportation. Experience with both local governments and sustainability or climate is a plus.  Bachelor’s degree with environmental studies, sustainability, energy, environmental justice is a plus.
  2. Technical Skills: Competency working in spreadsheets, PowerPoint or similar presentation tools is required. Comfort working with design or desktop publishing tools such as InDesign, Illustrator, Canva, or other design tools is also required. Ability to manage Zoom or Teams small group breakouts, instantaneous surveys, and similar meeting management is also essential.  Experience with GIS tools, programming languages, or other analytical tools or models is a plus.
  3. Research and Writing: Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills are necessary.
  4. Time Management: Ability to work for many different people, juggle multiple tasks in an organized way and “manage up” to ensure you are effective in your role. Excellent time and deadline management, project management, and team relationship skills
  5. Values: Commitment to the mission and goals of the Great Plains Institute, passionate about equitably solving the climate challenge and about the potential for aggressive deployment of renewable energy and clean energy systems.


Desktop computer and/or laptop, copier, fax machine, printer, telephone 


Requires working at a desk (either sitting or standing) for extended periods. Extensive use of devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse), as well as usage of telephone/headset. May require lifting of boxes up to 20 pounds on occasion.  


Complete the online application here:

The Great Plains Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes a wide diversity of applicants.