Karl Knapp worked for the City of Palo Alto Utilities from 2001 to 2008 as a Senior Resource Planner. The Karl Knapp Energy Fellow in City Government, started in 2019, is a government fellowship opportunity Stanford University offers as part of the Shultz Energy Fellowships program in memory of Karl.

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.

Office Description:

The City of Palo Alto has provided a full range of utility services (electric, gas, water, and sewer) for over 100 years, and is one of the only publicly owned gas utilities in the State of California. The City has ambitious sustainability goals, as embodied in its Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. Palo Alto has been a leader in Green Building and has been recognized for its Energy Reach Codes. Its Utilities Department has been on the forefront of sustainability, with 100% carbon neutral electric and gas portfolio goals and an award-winning solar program. CPAU is working to address long term business planning challenges related to sustainability and the long-term need to maintain safety, reliability, and reasonable rates.

Fellows working with the City of Palo Alto in 2021 will work in the Utilities Department, Resource Management Division. Resource Management is a group of analysts and program managers responsible for managing the City’s electricity, natural gas, and water supply portfolios, financial forecasting and developing customer retail rates, and developing and implementing customer programs related to energy and water efficiency, solar energy, electric vehicles, and building decarbonization.

The specific projects assigned will depend on the skills, abilities, and interests of the candidate and the needs of the City. Projects for the summer of 2021 may include the following, or similar projects:

  • Resiliency planning for the Palo Alto community both now and in a fully electrified future
  • Evaluating and proposing alternatives to establish a cost of carbon in Palo Alto for utility planning and sustainability planning purposes
  • Developing a marginal avoided cost of carbon curve for various emissions reductions programs.
  • Designing pilot programs, such as for smart electric panels or flexible load aggregation
  • Low-income and voluntary electrification and resiliency program planning
  • The role of renewable natural gas in reducing Palo Alto carbon emissions
  • Value of water projects that create drought resilience, particularly to protect tree canopy.
  • Benchmarking electric utility performance against similar agencies


This fellowship is open to either undergraduate or graduate students, with a preference for graduate students.

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