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National Renewable Energy Laboratory Summer Graduate Internship: Circular Economy of Solar, Wind and Batteries in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Summer Graduate Internship: Circular Economy of Solar, Wind and Batteries



CO - Golden


Position Type

Intern (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



Job Description

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado, is the nation’s primary laboratory for research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) provides leading-edge, objective, high-impact research and analysis to guide global energy investment and policy decisions and to support education and human development. Focused on the nexus of energy, financial sector, and society, JISEA is guiding the transformation of the global energy economy.

JISEA is seeking an intern to support a critical review of literature related to circular economy pathways for three leading renewable energy technologies: solar photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines and batteries. Circular economy pathways include dematerialization and material substitution, repair, remanufacturing, reuse and recycling, among others. The intern will focus primarily on batteries, updating and enhancing prior NREL staff review of CE for PV and wind. The intern will be named as contributor or supporter in the outputs they make substantive contributions to, and will benefit from introductions to domestic and international energy expert networks. They will work under the direct guidance from the JISEA leadership and have access to colleagues conducting world-class level analysis and research at the JISEA affiliated institutions, including NREL. The intern should be a self-motivated researcher and analyst with well developed scientific writing skills who is highly productive and excels in their area of study.

With guidance from management and senior staff, the intern will assist in the development of a critical review of the extant literature on CE for batteries (either or both of batteries for electric vehicles and utility-scale power grid applications). The literature review must be systematic (i.e., with a predetermined method), comprehensive and up to date, and not simply a summary recitation of prior work. The systematic literature review will include in-depth analysis of highlights, accomplishments, gaps and limitations, with recommendations for where future research should aim for maximum improvement in understanding and impact such as greenhouse gas mitigation and reduction in virgin material demands. The intern will develop a well organized annotated bibliography, summary tables, meta-analytical graphics and visual displays of gaps and opportunities. The intern will also write cogently about methods and findings which will form part of an overall journal article prepared for a leading journal. The period of internship is full time during the summer of 2021 with potential to extend part-time during the academic year, depending on availability of funding and based on intern’s performance (demonstrating significant and timely research progress, initiative and analytical and writing success).

NREL’s intern program provides a diverse opportunity for students and recent graduates. In addition to mentorship and real, hands-on experience, students and recent graduates will participate in professional development activities that will help strengthen their technical and professional skills.


Basic Qualifications

Must be enrolled as a full-time student in a Bachelor's, Master's or PhD degree program, or graduated in the past 12 months from an accredited institution. Internship period cannot exceed 12 months past graduation. Minimum of a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

Please Note:

•You will need to upload official or unofficial school transcripts as part of the application process.

•If selected for position, a letter of recommendation will be required as part of the hiring process.


Additional Required Qualifications

Bachelor's degree in engineering, physical sciences, operations research, economics, environmental science, business, or other energy or industrial ecology-related field or equivalent relevant experience. Interns should be undertaking Masters, Doctoral or post-doctoral work in a related field.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge of circular economy strategies, with demonstrated research experience on at least one CE pathway for at least one type or application of battery;

  • Knowledge of one or more industrial ecology fields such as life cycle assessment or material flow analysis;

  • Knowledge of manufacturing and supply chains for clean energy technologies;

  • Demonstrated experience in systematic literature review, including strategies to uncover hard to find literature, bibliographic organization, distillation of salient information comparable across multiple, disparate studies and meta-analysis of methods and published results;

  • Demonstrated strong analytical skills and ability to conduct academic research;

  • Excellent written skills and experience in designing and preparing research papers;

  • Ability to work independently to meet requirements and produce quality work in a timely fashion;

Preferred Qualifications


Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)

Annual Salary Range: $39,600 - $63,500

Offers will typically be made in the bottom half of the listed range. NREL takes into consideration a candidate’s education, training, and experience, as well as the position's work location, expected quality and quantity of work, required travel (if any), external market and internal value, including seniority and merit systems, and internal pay alignment when determining the salary level for potential new employees. In compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, a potential new employee’s salary history will not be used in compensation decisions.

Benefits Summary

Benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance; 403(b) Employee Savings Plan with employer match*; and sick leave (where required by law). NREL employees may be eligible for, but are not guaranteed, performance-, merit-, and achievement- based awards that include a monetary component. Some positions may be eligible for relocation expense reimbursement. Internships projected to be less than 20 hours per week are not eligible for medical, dental, or vision benefits.

* Based on eligibility rules

Submission Guidelines

Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.


EEO Policy

NREL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard basis of age (40 and over), color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, military or veteran status, national origin/ancestry, race, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding), sexual orientation, and any other applicable status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

EEO is the Law ( | Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination ( | Reasonable Accommodations (

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to secure an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future. With locations in Golden and Boulder, Colorado, and a satellite office in Washington, D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States.

NREL is subject to Department of Energy (DOE) access restrictions. All candidates must be authorized to access the facility per DOE rules and guidance within a reasonable time frame for the specified position in order to be considered for an interview. DOE rules for site access during the interview process are the same regardless of whether the candidate is interviewed on-site, off-site, or via telephone or videoconference. Additionally, DOE contractor employees are prohibited from participating in certain Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs (FGTRPs). If a candidate is currently participating in an FGTRP, they will be required to disclose their participation after receiving an offer of employment and may be required to disengage from participation in the FGTRP prior to commencing employment. Any offer of employment is conditional on the ability to obtain work authorization and to be granted access to NREL by the Department of Energy (DOE). We understand that COVID-19 may have caused delays or closures at offices, consulates, and embassies. However, NREL cannot make exceptions to work authorization and access requirements, and exceptions to these requirements are not being made for COVID-19 related delays.

Please review the information on our Hiring Process ( website before you create an account and apply for a job. We also hope you will learn more about NREL ( , visit our Careers site ( , and continue to search for job opportunities ( at the lab.