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Electrifying Summer Experiences

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Rajat Prashant Pungaliya's picture
Student Duke University

I am determined to pursue a career in Sustainable and Renewable Energy, work on sustainable growth for a greener future with clean energy and a carbon-neutral economy.My interests lie in...

  • Member since 2020
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  • Sep 14, 2020

As extraordinary as this summer was, it was truly an energizing and electrifying one. I got the opportunity to do two internships of 8 weeks each, one with SmartBlock Communities and one with National Grid.

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I am grateful to both the Energy Initiative office at Duke University for quickly helping me find SmartBlock Communities and Kate Ringness for quickly onboarding me on her team. As a Finance and Strategy Intern, I helped them with both energy and financial modeling to first, size and then, evaluate the cost-effectiveness of community microgrids across multiple jurisdictions (California and Philadelphia). I evaluated the possibility of monetizing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and using incentives from different federal and state programs to make the solar and storage microgrids with EV charging capabilities financially viable. We interacted with real estate developers, microgrid developers, financiers, national laboratory scientists, architects, and building energy designers to bring together a block-scale, quickly replicable business model to serve disadvantaged communities. This was a whole-systems design approach to urban sustainability to provide access to affordable living (not just affordable housing). I enjoyed collaborating and learning about all these topics from Anthony Edwin Nadas, and my fellow interns, Jack Duffy, and Payton Hollway.


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A warrior does not give up what they love, they find the love in what they do

At National Grid, Rachel Blankenship, Allie Nadeau, and the entire team did a fantastic job of onboarding 171 interns completely virtually! As a Gridtern in the revolutionary Asset Development department led by Terron Hill, I got the opportunity to be a part of the transmission strategy and policy group with my manager Gideon Katsh and work on utility-scale finance, regulatory policy, and market design projects. I produced a Net Present Value (NPV) infrastructure analysis and conducted primary research on the New England Open Access Transmission Tariff: a document used to guide transmission interconnections and energy market rules for the ISO-NE market. The NPV analysis will be a critical piece of National Grid’s Electric Vehicle Ultra-Fast Charging Transmission Framework to inform regulators, customers, and other stakeholders about the role of transmission interconnections in high megawatt electric vehicle charging sites. Noteworthy, Thomas Fitzgerald, Marianne Perben, Cheng-Hai Shih, Rick Roby, Yoon Soo Lee, Michael Jones, and Kyle Deming supported me every time I was overwhelmed (often) by the electric utility, and especially the transmission, industry. My mentor, Nicholas Neilsen, provided me with valuable insights about National Grid and New England during this period and fostered an environment where I felt included, valued, and respected.

Someone had told this to me a few months ago that "working at an energy utility company is like drinking water from a fire hose". It was exactly that and I loved every moment of it. I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work with National Grid.

Coming from an engineering background and wanting to expand my perspective in economics, finance, law, policy, and business aspects of the energy and electricity sectors, these internship experiences provided me the perfect stage to learn and execute these attributes. I can now very confidently say that my interests are Electricity Markets, Transmission Planning, Clean Energy Development, and Energy Finance.

I hope to devote my career to demystifying and solving the Decarbonization puzzle and lead the charge in Clean Energy Revolution (if I may)


I am a 2nd-year graduate student at Duke University studying Energy in the Master of Environmental Management program. I am excited to work on my Masters Project- "Assessing Transmission Bottlenecks in North and South Carolina" with North Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance as my client, study Energy Law, Economics of Sustainable Development, Financial Foundations for Environmental Managers, and Air Quality Management and Health in Fall 2020, and study Energy Finance, Evaluation of Public Expenditures, and Introduction to Solar Project Development in Spring 2021.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 14, 2020

Thanks so much for sharing your exciting experience, Rajat. For the people at Energy Central who maybe run internship programs themselves, what advice would you give-- based on your experience-- to help them make sure their interns find as much success and meaning in their programs as you did in yours? Was there anything you wish was done differently or something that you think may have been unique that you'd pass on to other internship programs in the utility space? 

Rajat Prashant Pungaliya's picture
Thank Rajat Prashant for the Post!
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