Writing and Research Specialist, Energy Systems

4 months ago
Full time role
Remote · Minneapolis, MN, US... more
Remote · Minneapolis, MN, US... more


A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Great Plains Institute is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. We work ...

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Job Description

Program/Role: Writing and Research Specialist, Energy Systems

Location: WFH Flexible. GPI’s headquarters are based at 2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 220 in Minneapolis, MN. Occasional travel may be required.

Reports to: Program Manager, Energy Systems 

Type of Position: Full time position

Ideal start date: August 1, 2023

Compensation: Salary range: $50K-$70K, commensurate with experience. Benefits include a health plan, 401(k) retirement plan, LTD, STD, life, vision, dental, FSA/HSA, paid time off, professional development allowance, and a communication stipend.



A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. Increased demand for GPI’s unique blend of energy expertise and consensus-derived solutions has driven organizational and programmatic growth. With headquarters in Minnesota, GPI’s operations are national in scope while retaining a core competency in the Midcontinent region. GPI is powered by more than 50 professionals and is supported by some of the nation’s most respected philanthropies. 


The following values inform the way we work both inside and outside of GPI. It is important to us to be trusted, inclusive, equitable, and transformative:


Trusted. We base our approach and actions on trust, mutual respect, and accountability. 

Inclusive. We achieve impact through inclusive and deliberate collaboration with a diversity of interests.

Equitable. We strive for equity in our approach and outcomes.

Transformative. We are a bold and passionate catalyst for change.



The Energy Systems program area is focused on decarbonizing the economy by enabling collaboration and problem solving among electric and natural gas utilities and market operators, regulators, environmental advocates, consumer advocates, state and local governments, businesses, and other key stakeholders.


We work with groups of state governor’s offices and environmental and energy regulators to develop and implement decarbonization plans; within the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator stakeholder process on market rules and the transmission build-out; with states, utilities, and other interests to align utility business models with an affordable, reliable, and net-zero greenhouse gas energy system; with states, local governments, and other key actors to bring down the implementation costs of net-zero greenhouse gas technologies and increase consumer demand for net-zero greenhouse gas resources.

We foster collaboration and problem solving through complex stakeholder engagement processes. These often involve groups of 20-100 stakeholders that meet regularly over several months to develop a shared understanding of energy and climate policy and technology issues, discuss varying perspectives on those issues, and collaborate to identify actions to address those issues.


Our team has a fast-paced entrepreneurial culture in which people enjoy both great freedom and great responsibility. People who thrive in this culture take personal responsibility for seeing what needs doing and getting it done. They are self-starters, problem-solvers, and quick to help others. They work hard because they believe in the mission and get to spend most of their time at the intersection of what they love to do and are good at. It’s a working environment in which performance is judged more on results than on time spent in a chair. We are committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. We aspire to make this the best job anyone has ever had.



This position will support various Energy Systems projects through a variety of writing and secondary research tasks, including note-taking, report-writing, blog-writing, developing slide decks, developing and administering surveys, and conducting secondary research on topics of interest to GPI and its stakeholder groups.


For a typical stakeholder engagement process, this position would attend all stakeholder meetings to take meeting notes, assist with developing a written summary after each meeting that can be sent to attendees, and assist with developing a final process summary that describes the overall process and outcomes. Process summaries vary in detail and length from around 10 pages for a high-level summary, to upwards of 100 pages for a detailed summary that may include a description of modeling results and several detailed recommendations.


The ideal candidate will have excellent writing, research, and oral communication skills, as well as strong interpersonal relationship skills that will support working with a variety of people on challenging issues. In addition, the ideal candidate should have the ability to exercise good judgment in a variety of situations, maintain a realistic balance among multiple priorities, use effective methods for time management and prioritization of tasks, maintain organization and attention to detail, and possess the ability to identify and address urgent and important needs in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. 


Familiarity with state level energy policy, state climate action planning, energy system decarbonization, or electric or gas utility business models and regulation is desired. In addition, the ideal candidate will exhibit attention to detail in their daily work.


Hours may be flexible and are typically Monday through Friday during the business day; evenings and weekends may be required at times. 


NOTE: While GPI conducts primary research and analysis on a variety of topics, this position is entirely focused on secondary research. This position is not a good fit for someone who would like to conduct primary research and analysis activities.



Writing and Research Assistance (85% of time): The Energy Systems program area convenes many stakeholder groups that meet regularly. The primary role of this position is to support those groups with note-taking, writing, and secondary research tasks, including but not limited to the following, and at the direction of program staff:

  1. Take notes during stakeholder meetings, making sure to capture key discussion points in an organized fashion. After meetings, work with program staff to clean up notes and send to stakeholders for review.
  2. After individual meetings, assist with writing meeting summaries capturing the key take-aways from the meeting and send to stakeholders for review.
  3. After the conclusion of a stakeholder engagement process (i.e., a series of meetings), assist with writing process summary documents outlining the process followed, issues discussed, and areas of consensus and disagreement. In addition, describe modeling and other activities that were conducted to inform stakeholder discussions. Work with GPI staff and stakeholders to revise these summaries over multiple iterations of edits.
  4. Assist with developing surveys to solicit stakeholder feedback on both process design and policy issues; consolidate, organize, and summarize survey feedback. Present feedback during stakeholder meetings as needed.
  5. Review large documents and sets of information, such as in regulatory dockets and state and federal legislative bills, and organize and summarize that information for GPI staff, clients, and stakeholder groups.
  6. Conduct secondary research in response to questions raised by GPI’s stakeholder groups. Develop written and visual materials to convey complex policy topics to stakeholder groups for discussion. Present results of research in stakeholder meetings to inform discussions, while maintaining a neutral perspective on policy issues.
  7. Track policy developments on topics and/or in locations of interest to GPI’s work and alert relevant staff to those developments.
  8. Write blogs on GPI’s work and projects, including summarizing and highlighting stakeholder engagement processes and relevant updates on matters of interest to GPI’s stakeholders.
  9. Collaborate with GPI’s communications team in developing written materials and publications that will be shared publicly.
  10. Work with program staff and GPI’s communications team to develop and update content on webpages and websites.
  11. Draft social media posts that professionally communicate about GPI’s work.
  12. Format written materials in adherence to GPI’s style guide.
  13. Review written materials for grammar, punctuation, formatting, and other improvements to ensure quality of written work products.
  14. Assist with writing fundraising proposals, including to philanthropic foundations, in response to competitive procurement opportunities, and for private sector consulting opportunities.
  15. Communicate effectively and positively with internal colleagues, external clients and partners, and with large stakeholder groups in a timely manner and while ensuring information is clear, succinct, and accessible to all parties.
  16. Assist with uploading meeting resources and materials and maintaining lists and databases of knowledge resources for multiple different stakeholder groups on GPI’s server, in Excel spreadsheets, and in online databases.
  17. Assist with drafting stakeholder meeting agendas.
  18. Assist with writing communications (typically email) for stakeholder groups.

Meeting Coordination and Administrative Assistance (15% of time): In addition to the primary tasks of writing and research, this position may be asked during times when staff are capacity-constrained to assist with meeting coordination and administrative tasks, including the following: 

  1. Take notes during project planning meetings, making sure to capture key decisions related to timing and next steps, and disseminate notes immediately to the project planning team to clarify responsibilities for all parties. 
  2. Schedule meetings with clients, partners, and stakeholders and sending meeting invitations through Microsoft Outlook.
  3. Set up virtual meetings in Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
  4. Coordinate with meeting presenters and speakers in a respectful, professional, and timely manner, including coordination of PowerPoint slide decks and speaking times during all-day agendas.
  5. Assist with developing, assembling, and disseminating meeting materials, including agendas, nametags and/or name tents, printed resources such as reports, electronic resources such as PowerPoint slide decks, flip charts, markers, and large post-it notes.
  6. Assist with meeting execution, including setting up and staffing welcome tables with name tags and meeting materials, testing A/V equipment, and ensuring that food and beverages arrive as scheduled.
  7. Respond in a timely and positive manner to requests for assistance from GPI staff, partners, clients, and stakeholders during meetings.
  8. Travel to meetings and assist with transporting materials to and from meetings. Currently, most meetings are virtual, but in the future plane travel will be required.
  9. Assist with developing project and program budgets.

Other Programmatic Assistance: As requested by the Program Managers or Vice President of the Energy Systems program area.



  • Bachelor’s Degree and/or Master’s Degree in a relevant field of study.
  • Work or academic experience related to energy policy, state climate action planning, energy utilities, or other related fields is preferred.
  • Experience with writing and secondary research
  • Strong writing, research, verbal communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Experience, professional or otherwise, working on a diverse team and developing and maintaining relationships. 
  • Ability to work well with people from a variety of backgrounds and political perspectives that may differ significantly from oneself.
  • Ability to work independently and follow directions
  • Time management skills with ability to prioritize a large volume of tasks and deadlines
  • Self-motivation, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn
  • Experience in using Microsoft Office.
  • Commitment to the mission of the Great Plains Institute.

The Great Plains Institute is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages candidates from all backgrounds to apply.



This position involves use of a desktop computer and/or laptop, copier, fax machine, calculator, printer, and telephone.



This position requires working at a desk (either sitting or standing) for extended periods and extensive use of devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse), as well as usage of telephone/headset.  



Apply here. Required application materials include a resume and one-page cover letter. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. 


The Great Plains Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes a wide diversity of applicants.

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