Title: Director, Energy Sector

Managed by: President

Issue Date: Oct. 14, 2022                                                                 FLSA Status: Exempt

ABOUT ULUPONO INITIATIVE: Ulupono Initiative (UI) is a Hawai‘i-focused impact investment firm sponsored by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam. The organization strives to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawai‘i by working toward solutions that create more locally produced food, increase renewable energy and clean transportation to reduce our dependence on imported oil, and better manage our fresh water resources. UI believes that self-sufficiency and resilience are essential to our future prosperity and will help shape a future where economic progress and mission-focused impact can work hand in hand. Our approach is based on systems thinking. For each of our investment areas, we aim to understand the entire landscape and identify critical intervention points that, when altered, will improve the outlook for Hawai‘i’s future and residents’ quality of life.

UI’s model allows the organization to work towards its mission in a variety of ways. We make investments in for-profit companies, provide grants to non-profit organizations, advocate on policy and regulatory issues, and we sometimes act as a catalyst or convener around critical issues related to food, energy, transportation, and fresh water.

POSITION SUMMARY:

The Director, Energy Sector is responsible for developing strategy and leading the implementation of UI’s efforts focused on energy issues and their impact on the people of Hawai‘i, including potential impacts across our other sector areas (e.g., local food production, transportation, and fresh water). Duties will include building local and national relationships with public and private stakeholders with a keen focus on Hawai‘i’s unique, island-based electric grid and renewable energy resources; acting as the subject matter expert and advisor within UI on all energy issues, including our policy and regulatory efforts, funding decisions and overall strategic direction; assisting the investment team in evaluating and recommending renewable energy-related investments, grants, and public-private partnerships; collaborating with State and County energy, land-use, and planning senior management; providing realistic inputs for financial models; and working with portfolio and partner organizations to help them succeed. Most grants are made through the donor-advised Ulupono Fund at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation while most investments are made as traditional private equity/venture capital investments.   

The Director, Energy Sector is also primarily responsible for leading regulatory efforts within UI under the direction of the President, including developing strategies for achieving mission impact through regulatory initiatives, evaluating existing and potential regulation, directing/performing financial and economic analysis of such regulations, intervening in select State of Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulatory dockets, collaborating with and managing external consultants, and acting as UI’s representative in other regulatory matters.

Responsibilities:

  • Lead the development of strategy for achieving impact in the energy sector and execute approved strategies
    • Understand the system dynamics and leverage points of Hawai‘i’s energy system
    • Manage and help lead coordination with both internal and external teams to advance initiatives
    • Inform and work with key stakeholders and policymakers to accelerate adoption of renewable energy
    • Vet national/international companies and project developers, and connect local stakeholders with potential solutions (technologies, pilot projects, etc.)
    • Understand the implications of industry and technology trends and climate change/carbon emissions impacts related to our strategy
  • Lead and support energy-related policy and regulatory intervention
    • Take responsibility for developing and achieving UI’s regulatory goals under the direction of the President and represent UI before the PUC
    • Lead in determining which PUC dockets are strategic priorities and work with legal counsel to intervene and achieve mission outcomes
    • Lead regulation evaluation and testifying/intervening processes
    • Monitor developments in State regulatory agendas with a focus on opportunities to achieve maximum mission impact within a fixed budget
    • Act as subject matter expert in support of public policy initiatives in collaboration with the Director of Government Affairs
    • Build relationships of trust with regulators, policy makers, and renewable energy interest groups
  • Support energy-related grant making and investment strategies
    • Act as subject matter expert in support of investments and grant making in collaboration with the Investments and Analytics team
    • Contribute to the evaluation and investment/grant memo drafting process
    • Support and build capacity in leadership of investees/grantees as needed to improve probability of success
  • Support UI team as needed
    • Actively build cross-disciplinary teams by collaborating with UI leads to address goals and projects requiring multiple skill sets to advance UI strategy and mission
    • Contribute to the development and accomplishment of UI’s annual objectives
    • Ensure testimony, presentations, and documents for external audiences are in harmony with the communications teams’ language and positioning of UI
    • Represent UI in a manner that is consistent with our mission and values

QUALIFICATIONS:

• 5–10 years of energy sector experience with a focus on renewable energy

• Strong regulatory/strategy skills (County, State, or Federal), experience as a regulatory attorney, or regulatory role in a firm or government agency, or public or private role in which energy strategy/policy development and advocacy were important

• Strong analytic skills—sound business modeling, financial and economic analysis; able to connect regulatory outcomes to economic outcomes and measure/estimate mission impact

• Strong persuasive writing and public speaking skills—experience writing policy or position papers and speaking before both large groups and influential individuals such as lawmakers and regulators

• Proven ability to develop productive relationships with lawmakers, regulators, and/or stakeholders with different interests and political views

• Prior demonstrated interest in creating a positive social impact in the energy sector

• Collaborative team player required; need to be comfortable being evaluated on both firmwide success and individual performance

• Connection to Hawai‘i and/or desire to live in Hawai‘i

• Strong alignment with UI’s mission and values 

Preferred:

• Master’s or Juris Doctor degree in a relevant discipline

• 3-5 years of energy regulatory experience 

• Solid knowledge of the process and components of both energy policy and regulation 

• Prior demonstrated interest in creating positive social impact highly desirable, with a proven interest in creating a positive impact in Hawai‘i 

How to Apply: Please submit a cover letter and resume to communications@ulupono.com by Nov. 14, 2022.