Catalyzing Local Government Action on Climate and Energy

Host: Sierra Business Council
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation (e.g.,sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Climate Mitigation, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Project Management, Data Analysis, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement


Service Needs & Plans

Sierra Business Council (SBC) is a non-profit based in Truckee, CA that serves the Sierra Nevada region. SBC catalyzes and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in our region. We act as stewards of the Sierra Nevada, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.
Sierra Nevada communities are already facing wildfire, flooding, declining snowpack, drought, tree mortality, and other climate-related impacts. The lack of funding and technical resources in many of the region’s rural local governments poses a challenge for these communities in preparing to face climate risks. We are seeking an enthusiastic and passionate individual to support SBC’s Climate & Energy programs, primarily the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch (SNEW) program, working with local governments and public agencies in the Sierra Nevada, and secondarily on the Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (Sierra CAMP).

The SNEW program expands energy efficiency in the Sierra, empowering local action, eliminating barriers to a clean energy future, establishing climate resiliency, and saving communities money. SNEW serves Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sutter, Tuolumne, and Yuba counties. This Fellowship would help catalyze energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction activities within a couple of the listed jurisdictions, as well as more broadly throughout the 14-county region.
Through SBC’s climate action programs, SNEW, and Sierra CAMP, the Fellow will have the opportunity to engage in the following activities:
1) Outreach & Education – engaging in outreach activities to ensure public agencies in the region are aware of benefits of SNEW and Sierra CAMP services. Outreach efforts include emails, phone calls, and in-person outreach on occasion. The Fellow will have the opportunity to provide public agencies with updates regarding programmatic services and upcoming events through newsletters, blog posts, outreach materials, webinars, and trainings.
2) Project Management – supporting local public agencies to develop and implement energy actions that achieve sustainability and climate change goals. The Fellow will work with jurisdictions to provide educational materials and trainings, energy consumption analyses, energy reduction strategies, energy project identification and facilitation, and progress tracking; and
3) Capacity Building – engaging with government leaders, business, academia, and community groups to share best practices, identify critical needs, and conduct research, education, and outreach around regional-specific climate and energy action.

Project Description

The State encourages public agencies to reduce their energy consumption, become more energy efficient, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. To comply with the State’s energy goals, jurisdictions are mandated to comply with building energy code regulations and encouraged to develop Energy and Climate Action Plans. These actions help the community be more self-sufficient and economically resilient in order to respond to future increases in energy prices and impacts due to climate change. Many local governments in the Sierra Nevada lack the capacity and budget to thoroughly analyze their energy use, and climate impacts, and develop plans to increase their energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency. SBC’s Climate & Energy team works closely with local governments and community members to analyze their respective energy and climate action, and develop projects and plans that will make them more resilient, efficient, and vibrant.
The Fellow will join the Climate & Energy team to engage in outreach efforts and work with local government staff and community members to identify projects and implement their respective plans to help them realize the most energy savings.

Capacity Building Project: Energy Action Planning and Implementation
Outcome: Support Sierra Nevada local governments and public agencies in the development and implementation of energy management projects and plans, including the identification of energy efficiency projects through the energy management services process.
Development and implementation of an energy management plan, including energy efficiency projects, through the SNEW energy management services process.
Support jurisdiction staff in identifying climate and energy projects, using implementation resources, supporting research, developing analysis, and tracking progress.
Coordination of climate and energy outreach and education events and development of outreach materials for the jurisdiction.
Support partnerships and collaborative opportunities through Sierra CAMP activities.

Desired Skills

The ideal candidate will have a willingness and capability to engage with public agency staff, community members, and stakeholders on a variety of climate and energy issues faced by rural, mountain communities. This person will be a self-starter, prepared to dive in and take ownership over their work and balance multiple ongoing, multi-faceted projects. Comprehensive research and writing skills, both technical and narrative, are also important, as is a demonstrated ability to recognize the importance of the triple bottom line as the underpinning for the social, environmental, and economic vitality of Sierra Nevada communities.
The candidate should display an ability to learn on the job and be flexible and adaptable. An excellent attention to detail, as well as an ability to prioritize workload effectively, are also skills SBC hopes for in a candidate. Desirable technical skills include an understanding of energy consumption analysis, energy efficiency strategies, and energy
management plans, as well as California and national climate planning and policy.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

SBC is located in Truckee, CA. Truckee is a vibrant outdoor recreation hub in the Sierra Nevada, a 22-county forested mountain region, with close proximity to outdoor attractions like world-renowned ski destinations, Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River, and the Pacific Crest Trail. SBC’s workplace culture supports a lifestyle that is based on a passion for the environment, recreation, and the close-knit, small-town communities that characterize the region. Truckee is characterized by four seasons, and can experience beach-worthy weather in the summer, crisp and colorful autumn tree foliage in the fall, and 3-foot deep snowy powder days in the winter. Staff are based in Truckee, but also South Lake Tahoe, Grass Valley, Auburn, Mammoth Lakes, and other surrounding nearby towns.
The SBC office is an environment where staff are encouraged to take initiative, work across programs, and support each others’ projects. Fellows will be exposed to and offered opportunities to expand their professional development through SBC’s climate and energy programs, economic empowerment programs, policy and legislative advocacy programs, housing programs, and sustainable recreation programs. Part of SBC’s work involves relationship building with community stakeholders, such as meetings and coordination, presentations and educational activities, and development of informational content to support program work. All SBC programs are designed to address community, economic, and social issues together (the triple bottom line approach), and SBC prioritizes equity and access to opportunity for the region’s populations. SBC supervising staff are approachable and professional development-oriented and are available to help project staff with training and career goals. All SBC staff have opportunities to sit in on board meetings, strategic discussions, and SBC program events.
SBC’s workplace culture prioritizes opportunities for interaction and engagement beyond work, to build positive relationships and community with your co-workers. This has been somewhat impacted by pandemic remote work transitions, however, even remotely we still try to foster a supportive and friendly environment with good and open communication. Our supervision method is a balance of autonomy with clear guidance and goals. SBC also respects work-life balance and allows for flexibility in schedules.

Community Highlights

SBC primarily serves rural mountainous communities throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The region is filled with vibrant communities enthusiastic about protecting the outdoor environment for generations to come. The region has attracted outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the recreational activities provided by the unique geography. Residents are able to enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities year round such as hiking, fishing, camping, mountain biking, and skiing and snowboarding, just to name a few.

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