2021 Fellow: Lauren Illa, ’24 (Energy Resources Engineering)

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 Professors Bruce Cain and Sally Benson during Spring Quarter.

Program requirement:

Take a one-unit workshop spring course, ‘Energy Policy in California and the West’ taught by Bruce Cain and Sally Benson that will provide an in-depth analysis of the role of California state agencies, the Western Interstate Energy Board, and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council in driving energy policy development, technology innovation, and market structures. Course number is CEE 263G / POLISCI 73 / PUBLPOL 73 / ENERGY 73.

Schedule: Wednesdays from 10:00 am – 11:00 am (Remote: Synchronous). (Please note: You can only enroll in the course after getting approved for the internship and receiving a permission number.) Please refer to the Shultz Energy Fellowships website for the most up-to-date information about the course.

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 in the areas of energy and climate and will also be expected to prepare for public speaking, meetings with stakeholders, and communications regarding his or her findings. Key areas of focus include, but are not limited to, grid reliability, clean transportation, building decarbonization, 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.

Please note that it’s likely that the CEC will be telecommuting in summer 2021 and if this is the case, the fellow will also be required to telecommute.

Potential Mentors

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

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