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Company Name:
Approximate Salary:
Not Specified
Arlington, Virginia
United States
Engineering - Electrical
Position type:
Full Time
Experience level:
2 - 5 years
Education level:
Bachelor's Degree

Engineer, Distribution Optimization


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), with offices in Arlington, VA and Lincoln, NE is the trade association for over 900 consumer-owned electric cooperatives serving more than 42 million people. NRECA is committed to harnessing the strength of America’s electric cooperatives into a single powerful voice. NRECA has won the following awards over the past few years:

•  Top Workplace by the Washington Post

•  100 Best Places to Work - ComputerWorld Magazine

•  50 Best Places to Work - The Washingtonian

•  CARE Award Recipient - Recognizing organizations that promote a positive work-life balance

•  Best Place to Work Award Recipient - Lincoln, NE

•  Gold Well Workplace - Wellness Councils of America

•  State of NE Governor's Wellness Award - Grower Level

At NRECA, we work with people who are leaders in their fields. They are down-to-earth, hardworking professionals committed to helping our members serve their communities. Our work is interesting, constantly evolving, and requires new skills to meet the evolving needs of a dynamic industry. In this collegial, inclusive work environment, united around the compelling purpose and history of electric cooperatives, we thrive. And topping it off, NRECA cares about each person’s overall well-being, encouraging health, financial security, and a sustainable work/life balance. EEO/AA- M/F/Disability/Protected Veteran Status/Genetic Data


Position Summary:


Conducts research analysis on distribution optimization, impact of distributed energy resources on the distribution grid, interconnection and operation standards for resources on the distribution grid, distribution grid steady-state, dynamic and transient powerflow analysis. Developing products and services for member systems by working with specific case studies and providing technical guidance to co-op engineers, staff, contractors, and NRECA senior staff on distribution grid analysis and optimization, modeling of new and existing technologies, running quasi-static distribution grid powerflow models such as the Open Modeling Framework, GridLab-D and OpenDSS, interconnection and operation standards such as IEEE-1547, and distribution grid technologies for a more cost-effective, reliable and safe operation of the distribution grid.  Participates in the conceptualization, design and execution of research & demonstration projects to solve current and future challenges facing electric co-ops in planning, operating, optimizing and maintaining the distribution grid.  Writes engineering software as required to create solutions for distribution grid modeling and analysis. May be lead author of technical articles in NRECA and industry publications. May participate as a panel session speaker and moderator in a variety of workshops and conferences and may lead timely dissemination of results through a variety of outlets. 


Contributes to NRECA strategic priorities development through the research agenda by direct member engagement and fostering and facilitating cross-network collaboration within the Department and across the Association. Tells our story directly and equips members to tell our story. Establishes peer network and contacts, acquires increasing subject matter expertise credibility both within the membership and in external industry.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:


  1. Works with NRECA’s subject matter experts (SME) on renewable energy, distributed generation, energy storage and microgrids. Develops subject matter expertise on distribution grid optimization, modeling of new technologies, distribution grid analysis methodologies, interconnection operational standards for the distribution grid, and impact of integrating new technologies such as DER on to the distribution grid.

  2. Conducts secondary research, participates in primary research and drafts technical papers; may lead member engagement in specific areas and partners with NRECA associate members and the industry for support and endorsements; participates in exploring program and project partnerships with industry stakeholders including national laboratories and federal government agency executives, senior advisors, and project managers with funding authority.

  3. Participates in research project performance, budgets and compliance with reporting requirements

  4. Works directly with members and industry stakeholders during the research design and supports the pursuit of mutually beneficial opportunities and collaborative efforts, including but not limited to:  external funding agencies, such as the Department of Energy (DOE), vendors and other partners (EPRI, TVA, National Labs, universities, federal agencies).

  5. Uses technical information to advise on trends for the technical direction of the industry with key stakeholders; helps with defining NRECA research and position on technical issues; and represents co-op interests.  Participates in NRECA’s efforts to supporting the industry dialogue by conveying technical insights and research results and engaging the network at industry and NRECA meetings, statewide meetings, national conferences, etc. May communicate project learnings through technical papers on emerging technologies and analysis of technical and business conditions, and participation in NRECA webinars, podcasts and other outreach.

  6. Performs member engagement duties through preparation of engagement scripts, conducting telecommunications and electronic communications with members, including identifying their interests and activities in distribution grid optimization initiatives. May present at member events including individual cooperative meetings, statewide meetings and other conferences.

  7. Provides technical content to support NRECA’s Education and Training, Communications, Government Relations, Touchstone Energy Cooperative and Associate Member efforts. 

  8.  Provides support, advice and may make recommendations to participating co-op representatives to frame use of research, new research, develop new research concepts, and provides technical research reviews. Reviews research products.

  9. Monitors industry developments and stays abreast of pertinent regulations and political dialogue in order to input into forecasts of changes in standards for distribution grid optimization and to identify research opportunities. Contributes technical concepts to support business development, funding applications, and contracting for applicable research projects.


Requirements and Qualifications


Formal Education Required:


Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, Master’s degree desired.


Experience Required:


At least three years of progressive modeling, analysis, and research experience in power systems including distributed energy resources modeling, distribution grid optimization techniques, running distribution grid powerflows and other grid simulation models, including creating, validating and maintaining the necessary databases for those models. Experience in distribution grid planning and operations required.  Knowledge of DER interconnection and operation standards such as IEEE-1547 desired.


One year of experience in writing incremental software additions that enhances the effectiveness and use of electric grid simulation models desired and two years of progressive experience working directly with electric cooperatives desired.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required:


  • Knowledge of the structure and operations of electric cooperatives as demonstrated by prior working experience.

  • Knowledge of the operations of the electric industry and the market fundamentals driving change in the industry.

  • Ability to apply knowledge and analytical methods to examine how proposed legislation or regulatory changes related to wholesale electricity markets, renewable energy, distributed energy, electric system reliability, energy efficiency, demand response and retail rates will impact rural electric cooperatives and their members.

  • Ability to manage competing deadlines and multiple projects at various stages of development using effective organization skills and attention to detail as demonstrated by prior work experience.

  • Ability to be persuasive, negotiate, and collaborate with individuals at all levels throughout organization as demonstrated by prior work experience.

  • Ability to communicate, both verbally and in writing, with a diverse membership, employees and/or vendors in a clear and precise manner as demonstrated by prior work experience.

  • Ability to use Microsoft Office tools (Excel, Word, Outlook, Power Point) in the day-to-day essential duties of the job as demonstrated by prior work experience.

  • Ability to operate various office equipment such as personal computer, copier, printer, fax machine, 10-key adding machine, and multiple line telephone as demonstrated by prior work experience.

  • Ability to provide service excellence by building relationships, being resouceful, responsive and respectful as demonstrated by prior work experience.

  • Ability to improvise strategies to analyze new fields of data with short turnaround.

  • Ability to use modeling software and databases as appropriate to perform duties and responsibilities.


ADA Requirements:


  • The worker is required to have close visual acuity to perform an activity such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing a computer terminal; extensive reading; visual inspection involving small defects, small parts, and/or operation of machines (including inspection); using measurement devices; and/or assembly or fabrication parts at distances close to the eyes.

  • Exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 10 pounds of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects. If the use of arm and/or leg controls requires exertion of forces greater than that for sedentary work and the worker sits most of the time, the job is rated for light work.


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