2021 Fellow: Lauren Illa, ’24 (Materials Science and Engineering)

Learn more about Lauren’s experience:

This fellowship is part of a partnership between Stanford in Government, the Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Bill Lane Center for the American West. If you are accepted as the fellow for this office, you will be required to complete a one-unit course on energy in California taught by Professor Bruce Cain during Spring Quarter. Please refer to the Shultz Energy Fellowships website for full program requirements.

Organization/Agency mission or role in state government:

The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, the California Energy Commission has seven core responsibilities:

  • Forecast future energy demand (electricity and natural gas) to assist in planning California’s energy infrastructure;
  • Promote energy efficiency by developing, implementing and enforcing the state’s appliance and building energy efficiency standards, encouraging energy efficiency upgrades in existing buildings and implementing the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39);
  • Certify and issue environmental permits for thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger;
  • Invest in energy research, development, demonstration, and technology commercialization;
  • Support renewable energy development by providing incentives for solar photovoltaic systems on new residential buildings and new geothermal facilities, and implementing the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in collaboration with the California Public Utilities Commission;
  • Develop and deploy low-carbon alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and infrastructure; and
  • Plan for and direct state response to energy emergencies in close partnership with the California Office of Emergency Services.


The fellow will work in the office of Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild under direct mentorship of his policy advisors. Chair Hochschild leads the Energy Commission, which is the state’s primary energy planning and policy agency. Priorities broadly include policy research and projects that support achievement of California’s ambitious climate and energy targets.
The fellow will conduct analysis and support efforts in the areas of energy and climate and will also be expected to prepare for meetings with CEC staff and stakeholders and written and oral communications regarding project findings. Key areas of focus may include climate tech research and innovation, opportunities for in-state lithium production and battery manufacturing, building decarbonization, gas infrastructure system planning, grid reliability, clean transportation, and development of the Integrated Energy Policy Report, an assessment of energy trends and issues facing California.
In addition, the fellow may help prepare talking points, presentations, and memoranda to better inform California energy policy decisions. The fellowship will be project-oriented, but will also include shorter-term tasks.

We anticipate CEC staff will have a flexible hybrid work policy for summer 2022. If this is the case, the fellow will have the option to work fully in-person, partially remote, or fully remote, with partial or full in-person work highly encouraged. Otherwise, the fellowship will be fully remote.

Potential Mentors

  • Chair David Hochschild
  • Le-Quyen Nguyen, Chief of Staff
  • Terra Weeks, Senior Advisor
  • Ken Rider, Chief Policy Advisor

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