Manager (Minigrids) - RMI Africa Energy Program

About the Program

With an independent, objective, and fact-based approach, RMI’s Africa Energy Program works with a diverse set of public and private sector partners to solve sub-Saharan Africa’s toughest energy challenges. Fundamentally, we believe that people need and deserve access to clean, reliable, and affordable power, and that historical approaches to energy systems will not enable sustainable economic development for Africa economies in the 21st century and beyond. We are working to change that, leveraging RMI’s global platform and deeply collaborative partnerships across the range of industry stakeholders. Our team is growing, and we seek highly motivated and experienced professionals to join us in this mission.

 Our program strategy and team of 20 people focus on three complementary components: 1) expanding the use of holistic energy planning and clean energy portfolios, 2) enabling distributed energy resource (DER) adoption including minigrids to expand access and save costs for stakeholders, and 3) demand-side interventions to drive efficient use of energy that enables local economic development. We act through a “think-do-scale” approach, including: (think) developing transformative business models and influential thought leadership detailing market opportunities; (do) creating partnerships to develop innovative demonstration projects; and (scale) translating results to formalize utility, investor, and development programs.

  Currently, the Africa Energy Program works alongside country partners in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Malawi, with regional scaling activities that include partners across many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Since its inception in 2015, the program has also supported partners in Rwanda, Uganda, and Sierra Leone.

Application Deadline: 5pm MT on May 25th, 2021

Position Overview 

We are seeking an exceptional Manager candidate to join RMI’s Africa Energy Program and help lead the development and adoption of cutting-edge solutions to support Africa’s energy transition. This posting is specifically for a Manager to help lead the Program’s work related to accelerating the adoption of minigrids and distributed energy resources (DERs) to enable access to reliable, affordable, and clean electricity. RMI has worked extensively on rural minigrids development in Africa, particularly around issues of identifying and implementing cost reduction opportunities, creating new business models, and using data to improve operations and design practices. We believe that minigrids and DERs will continue to play a dominant role in dictating the pace of energy access improvement. This is a pillar of our work in both Nigeria and Ethiopia, and we expect this position to help drive RMI’s role in the execution of the Global Environment Facility’s Africa Minigrids Program, as well as the development of community-led minigrid business models through RMI’s Sharing the Power project, and direct advisory support to minigrid developers. RMI’s Africa Energy Program is growing, and this position offers the opportunity to play a key role in helping us maximize our impact alongside that growth.

As an ideal candidate, you are a passionate, creative, accountable, and empowering leader of people and projects. You apply your deep expertise and real-world experience to develop your own ideas and solutions to the world’s energy challenges, with a focus on real-world implementation. You maintain a network of partners and collaborators who help to ground your work, and you keep up-to-date on the sector’s progress and global trends and help your teammates do the same. You are collaborative and humble in engaging with local partners to understand market needs and conditions. You don’t settle for the status quo—you actively dig deeper to understand the underlying root of problems and focus on generating new ideas and solutions to those barriers.

 For this position in particular, you have deep subject matter expertise about the technical, business, and operational dynamics of minigrids and DERs in Africa, and you work with your team to develop ideas about how best to accelerate adoption. You have experience leading teams through original research, partner collaborations, and/pr client-driven projects related to renewable energy systems, deploying appropriate technologies while working with communities in emerging economies, or both. You are able to clearly and confidently explain nuanced research to both expert and lay audiences through written and verbal forms.

 Managers are RMI’s primary project leaders and work closely with and under the direction of RMI’s Principals to design and execute projects. In addition, they independently lead multiple workstreams and analysis, coach junior staff to meet project goals, and participate in communications, speaking engagements, and donor-development for their Program as a whole.

 

Your key job responsibilities as a Manager primarily include: 

  • Shape and execute project strategy from inception to conclusion.
    • Scope engagements and determine project objectives.
    • Develop the team’s analytical approach.
    • Develop stakeholder engagement approach.
  • Lead a team focused on accelerating minigrid and DER adoption.
    • Create and execute multiple workstreams.
    • Manage staff and timeline to ensure the delivery of high-quality outputs while maintaining positive team culture and achievable deadlines.
    • Structure, oversee the work of, and mentor junior team members.
  • Be a thought leader.
    • Develop hypotheses to guide work and effective ways to analyze problems.
    • Learn from partners and local experts to deeply understand existing and potential barriers.
    • Use your experience and team’s learnings to identify and implement innovative solutions.
    • Structure and deliver compelling presentations and written products to share insights.
  • Collaborate with energy sector stakeholders, including donor partners, governments, utilities, investors, developers, private companies, and customers, often acting as RMI’s primary relationship manager.
  • Represent RMI in external interviews, videos, and publications.
  • Organize and lead field visits in sub-Saharan Africa to engage communities, work directly with our partners, and gather data.
  • Travel up to 30%, primarily internationally. 

 

Minimum Qualifications

  • 5+ years of cumulative project management experience
  • A graduate degree or equivalent experience in an applicable field such as engineering (mechanical, electrical, civil, energy), business (marketing, finance, international), economics, international development, computer science, mathematics, physical and social sciences. 

Additional Qualifications

Technical

  • Experience with or strong knowledge of on- and off-grid electricity systems and rural energy needs, including topics ranging from industry regulation, minigrids/microgrids, innovative business models and financing approaches, demand-side management, and approaches to productive use stimulation. 
  • Strong financial analysis capabilities and understanding of key metrics (e.g., NPV, cash flows), energy analysis (e.g., LCOE), and their application to minigrids and DERs in Africa.
  • Quantitative and qualitative analytical capabilities related to electricity systems, minigrid costs and revenue drivers, tariff design, project finance in rural Africa, and/or business model development. 
  • Ability to oversee development and use of complex models (e.g., Excel, Python, Matlab). 
  • Aptitude for facilitating multi-stakeholder meetings and working sessions through creative and collaborative engagement. 

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Experience working in sub-Saharan Africa and a demonstrated tolerance for adversity and uncertainty.
  • Strong understanding of the minigrid stakeholder landscape in sub-Saharan Africa, and demonstrated success building long-term relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Experience working with both the private sector and/or bi-/multi-lateral donor organizations (e.g., World Bank, African Development Bank, USAID, etc.).

General

  • A passion for making the world better.
  • Motivation to lead project and business development, from early-stage concept creation following through to implementation.
  •  Prior experience in consulting, project management, with a project developer, or other related fields preferred. Comparable experience working at a utility, relevant government agency, investor, or in international development is also desirable. 
  • Exceptional and concise writing capabilities to communicate complex ideas clearly.
  • A high degree of professionalism, thoughtfulness, and respect across interpersonal interactions.
  • Intellectual curiosity and willingness to plunge into unfamiliar disciplines and take risks by exploring and testing new ideas. 
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently with limited supervision, leading by example. 

 

* Our staff is comprised of a wide skill set and we welcome a diverse range of education and experience. In addition, RMI ensures thoughtful review of each candidate to determine the appropriate position level for all individuals and this will be communicated prior to the interview process. The Africa Energy Program has a concurrent posting for a Senior Associate, and this may be a more appropriate role for some candidates depending on experience.

Location 

This position will remain remote through the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the COVID-19 situation improves, the ideal candidate will be located at our new office in Addis Ababa. This will be discussed further throughout the interview process.

Compensation

The salary range for this position is $86,000 - $116,000, with the target range being $90-$100,000. This is dependent upon experience that will be discussed and vetted through the interview process. This position also includes an additional 10% bonus target.  

Benefits 

We offer a comprehensive benefits package including: 

  • Medical, dental, vision insurance 
  •  403b retirement options (5% match immediately) 
  • Life, AD&D, short-term and long-term disability 
  • Professional and personal development (including LinkedIn Learning access) 
  • Generous paid time off
  • Parental leave 
  • Commuter and wellness benefits 
  • Casual work environment 

 

Diversity   

Increasing the diversity of thought, perspectives, ideas and opinions within RMI is a critical change element supporting our long-term sustainability and mission to build a clean, prosperous, and secure energy future. 

We strive for a level of diversity that reflects the communities we serve. Achieving this—regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, ancestry, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status, socioeconomic class, educational attainment or other social identities—is critical to the success of each RMIer and collectively as an organization. This ensures that we: 

  • Have the different array of thinking that comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures, enabling us to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. 
  •  Strive for a culture of inclusion and belonging by treating others with dignity, respect and appreciation enabling them to feel welcomed, supported and valued. 
  • Effectively connect, communicate and build long-lasting relationships with decision makers, stakeholders and constituents within diverse communities. 

 

RMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.    

About RMI

RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.


JOB CODE: 1000343