Where am I Interning?
Meister Consultants Group (MCG), a Cadmus Company, is an international sustainability consulting firm specializing in renewable energy policy and strategy development. MCG works with clients across the globe, including multi-national finance institutions; federal, state, and local governments; and philanthropic foundations on projects related to clean energy policy, climate change planning, and stakeholder dialogue.
MCG was recently acquired by Cadmus, a strategic and technical consultancy that works to address challenges in energy, homeland security, climate, sustainable transportation, international development, and more. This combination provides clients access to additional support and expertise from Cadmus’ wide range of consultants.
As soon as I started my internship at Cadmus, I was assigned a coach, consultant Julie Curti, who will be my mentor throughout my experience at Cadmus. At the start of my internship, Julie worked with me to develop goals to structure my internship, such as developing stronger public speaking and quantitative analysis skills. Additionally, we have weekly check-in meetings to discuss the projects I’m working on, as well as to talk through any questions or concerns that came up for me the previous week. As my mentor, Julie has helped me understand how to manage my workload and made my transition as a new intern a little easier.
What am I doing?
During my first month at Cadmus, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many different projects, all of which I felt prepared for thanks to Bard CEP’s interdisciplinary coursework. Some of the projects I’m most excited about include:
King County Renewable Energy Transition
Cadmus is currently working with King County, Washington, to identify strategies to increase its renewable electricity supply from 70% to 90% to help achieve its emissions reduction goals. Prior to joining Cadmus, MCG conducted a barriers and opportunities assessment that evaluated 39 potential strategies identified through initial conversations with stakeholders through multiple dimensions, like scale, cost, and potential equity impacts. Through this process, MCG was able to highlight the strategies with the greatest potential in the King County context.
My role in this process was to conduct preliminary desk research on about half of the strategies in order to evaluate them through the different dimensions. Additionally, I helped draft a brief outlining the research process for this section of the project. CEP’s Energy Systems Policy course prepared me for this by giving me an understanding of many of the strategies I needed to research, such as implementation of a statewide carbon tax or increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard.
Netherlands Study Tour
MCG recently planned a study tour to the Netherlands for a U.S.-based philanthropic foundation supporting sustainable cities. The purpose of the tour was to educate members on successful Dutch adaptation and mitigation strategies that could serve as a model for U.S. resiliency efforts.
Amsterdam Canals. Source: Wikimedia Commons
I contributed to the development of briefing materials for tour attendees that provided a comprehensive overview of the policy context for water management in the Netherlands as compared to the United States, as well as background information on major Dutch cities. Throughout this project, I relied heavily on information I learned during our first-year environmental law course, especially related to the Clean Water Act, as well as research and writing skills we focused on in our environmental policy classes.
SolSmart is a national designation program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. The program aims to address solar soft costs, which are the non-hardware costs that can make it expensive or time consuming to install a solar energy system. MCG supported the creation of this program by developing criteria to strengthen a community’s solar readiness. These criteria address a range of topics from permitting, planning and zoning to community engagement and customer acquisition. As part of the program, communities have the opportunity to receive cost-free technical assistance in each of these categories.
Since my first SolSmart training, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct zoning reviews for several towns, including my college town of Fairfield, Connecticut. This entails reviewing a town or county’s zoning regulation and identifying any language that may unintentionally act as a barrier to solar, such as building height restrictions or strict setback rules. These reviews also provide suggestions based on best practices and model zoning ordinances.
In the short month I’ve been interning at Cadmus, I have been fortunate to meet some great, talented people and work on some really exciting projects. Bard CEP’s curriculum has given me the academic background to dive into multiple projects on different topics, as well the time management skills to balance a full-time internship and a capstone project. I’m excited to see where these next few months at Cadmus will take me and how the experience will influence my life beyond CEP.