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Postdoctoral Researcher – Energy Optimization Modeling
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Job Description

NREL is seeking a Postdoctoral candidate to support energy optimization model development and technical analysis projects in the Integrated Applications Center (IAC) within the Energy Systems Integration (ESI) directorate. IAC helps federal agencies, states, local governments, communities, and the private sector to develop energy strategies, analyze opportunities, and implement an integrated portfolio of distributed energy resources, energy efficiency (EE), and grid integration technologies. We are looking for a researcher with a strong technical background and an interest in the mission of NREL.

The incumbent will work under the guidance of senior staff within the Modeling & Analysis Group to develop and perform analysis with NREL’s REopt modeling platform for energy systems integration and optimization. The successful candidate will collaborate with NREL staff and researchers and university and industry partners on the techno-economic optimization of renewable energy, energy efficiency, storage, and conventional generation in buildings, campuses, or microgrids. The incumbent will work as part of a software development team to develop model predictive control capabilities to optimally operate microgrids and incorporate techniques for optimization under uncertainty into analysis projects. The incumbent may also assist in integration with building and power systems models for analysis of district energy systems. The incumbent will document and present engineering results, including publishing results in peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting work at leading conferences.

The successful candidate will have experience in mathematical optimization modeling, especially as it applies to energy technologies and systems, with a background in operations research or engineering and strong programming skills.

Qualifications include:

  • Experience with programming in Python and/or Julia
  • Experience using and developing in mathematical optimization software (e.g. Xpress’s mosel, Julia’s JuMP, Python’s Pyomo, GAMS)
  • Some knowledge of energy efficiency or renewable energy technologies
  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills; enjoys group problem solving and technical debates
  • Ability to collaborate with team members in a flexible work environment
  • Ability to work independently
  • High standards of work quality
  • Smart, intellectually curious, analytical, and tenacious in finding solutions. Adaptable to a variety of roles and projects.


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in linear, mixed integer, and stochastic optimization
  • Experience in real-time or online optimization
  • Experience modeling battery degradation in linear programs
  • Knowledge of artificial neural networks or other machine learning algorithms (ideally applied to forecasting of energy demand and/or generation)
  • Experience modeling renewable energy, storage, combined heat and power systems, and flexible loads for grid-connected and microgrid systems
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis techniques and tools
  • Experience building techno-economic models
  • Experience integrating models and conducting integrated analysis using multiple models
  • Experience developing open source models
  • Knowledge of energy markets and value streams for distributed energy resources
  • Experience using EE/RE software tools such as SAM, HOMER, and Open Studio
  • Basic knowledge of economics/ finance/cash flow analysis
  • Experience working with and managing large amounts of data
  • Experience using scripting languages for automating computer simulations
  • Ability to transition easily between detailed computer modeling and big-picture client interactions
  • Proven track record of high-quality publications in peer-reviewed and conferences
  • Demonstrated experience presenting research findings to broad—technical and non-technical—audiences


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 dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity. NREL promotes a work environment that does not discriminate against workers or job applicants and prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or veteran status, including special disabled veterans.

NREL validates right to work using E-Verify. NREL will provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with information from each new employee’s Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. For additional information, click here.

About National Renewable Energy Laboratory

At NREL, we focus on creative answers to today's energy challenges. From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies to integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL researchers are transforming the way the nation and the world use energy.