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Posting Title
Researcher II/III-Geospatial Science
CO - Golden
Position Type
Hours Per Week
Working at NREL
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
From day one at NREL, you’ll connect with coworkers driven by the same mission to save the planet. By joining an organization that values a supportive, inclusive, and flexible work environment, you’ll have the opportunity to engage through our ten employee resource groups, numerous employee-driven clubs, and learning and professional development classes.
NREL supports inclusive, diverse, and unbiased hiring practices that promote creativity and innovation. By collaborating with organizations that focus on diverse talent pools, reaching out to underrepresented demographics, and providing an inclusive application and interview process, our Talent Acquisition team aims to hear all voices equally. We strive to attract a highly diverse workforce and create a culture where every employee feels welcomed and respected and they can be their authentic selves.
Our planet needs us! Learn about NREL’s critical objectives, and
see how NREL is focused on saving the planet.
Note: Research suggests that potential job seekers may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage anyone who is interested in this opportunity to apply. We seek dedicated people who believe they have the skills and ambition to succeed at NREL to apply for this role.
Job Description
The Geospatial Data Science (GDS) Group in NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center is seeking a research scientist to conduct analysis of spatial and temporal data to help solve real-world energy system problems and advance renewable energy deployment. The GDS Group conducts research at the intersection of renewable energy deployment, big data science, and geospatial modeling and visualization. Our team of scientists develops and applies geospatial algorithms and methods to evaluate the resource, technical, and economic potential for renewable energy technologies, principally wind and solar but also geothermal, water power, hydrogen, and bioenergy. Our work aims to put actionable insights in the hands of decision-makers, industry partners, stakeholders, and the broader public. Geospatial modeling at NREL enables detailed techno-economic assessment and power systems modeling of renewable energy resources under a variety of regulatory, sociopolitical, and environmental factors from local to continental scales.
This position will support the growing research portfolio of the GDS Group, creating new capabilities to analyze scenarios and design solutions for complex challenges in renewable energy. The position will support clients within NREL and external to the laboratory. The successful candidate will develop novel analytical solutions to advance the state of research in broad geographic scale representation of spatial drivers of renewable energy deployment and the evolution of our power system. This position requires a strong applied and theoretical background in spatiotemporal methods applied in social, ecological, and topographical modeling contexts, as well as understanding of complex systems analysis and scenario modeling frameworks.
Duties will include:
o Integrating multiple data sources, models, and software tools with scientific and engineering workflows for data analysis and decision support. These workflows will include the use of distributed parallel computing and utilization of both cloud and high-performance computing (HPC) resources.
o Strong scientific programming and algorithm development skills and demonstrated use of Python for modeling and analysis of large, complex data sets. Experience with Linux operating systems and bash scripting preferred.
o Conducting and leading analysis using the
Renewable Energy Potential (reV) model
to develop
renewable energy supply curves
. Working with other teams at NREL to integrate the reV model into larger-scale analyses.
o Communicating research insights through journal publications and conference presentations; participating in stakeholder engagement workshops and seminars; and contributing on proposals for new research directions.
o Working both independently and with a team to solve problems that often require a high degree of creativity.
The ideal candidate will bring deep background and experience in spatial analysis and methods development, quantitative research, and advanced programming skills to integrate models with large datasets (i.e., TB-scale). Experience with Python-based, scalable, open-source analysis tools is required. Expert proficiency in geospatial modeling is required; however, experience with ESRI products is not a preferred skill due to computational demands and highly customized solutions developed by the group. The candidate should be eager to work in an interdisciplinary field, together with computer scientists, policy analysts, and system engineers, and will require excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
The NREL Geospatial Data Science group (
) is the preeminent geospatial team working in renewable energy research. Our cutting-edge research and modeling support diverse programs across NREL and beyond, advancing renewable energy solutions from local to global scales. Join our team as we develop the science placing renewable energy on the map.
Basic Qualifications
Researcher II Requirements:
Master's Degree in Engineering, Geography, Environmental Science, Computer Science or related. Or, relevant Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, Geography, Environmental Science, Computer Science or related and 2 or more years of experience. General knowledge and application of scientific technical standards, principles, theories, concepts and techniques. Training in team, task or project leadership responsibilities. Intermediate abilities and knowledge of practices and techniques. Beginning experience in project management. Good technical writing, interpersonal and communication skills.

Researcher III Requirements:
PhD in Engineering, Geography, Environmental Science, Computer Science, or related. Or, Master's Degree in Engineering, Geography, Environmental Science, Computer Science or related and 3 or more years of experience. Or, relevant Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, Geography, Environmental Science, Computer Science, or related and 5 or more years of experience. Demonstrates complete understanding and wide application of scientific technical procedures, principles, theories and concepts in the field. General knowledge of other related disciplines. Demonstrates leadership in one or more areas of team, task or project lead responsibilities. Demonstrated experience in management of projects. Very good technical writing, interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Must meet educational requirements prior to employment start date.
Additional Required Qualifications
o Experience with technical oversight and task management to meet client expectations while managing timelines, deliverables, and budgets.
o Quantitative background in the areas of spatial statistics, predictive modeling, data analytics, and/or complex systems modeling.
o Demonstrated ability to communicate results effectively through scientific visualizations, publications, and presentations.
Preferred Qualifications
Preferred Skills:
  • Applied machine learning
  • Cartography
  • Energy/Power Systems
  • PostgreSQL/PostGIS
  • Renewable Energy (RE) analysis (such as wind and solar)
Job Application Submission Window
The anticipated closing window for application submission is up to 30 days and may be extended as needed.
Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)
Job Profile: Researcher III / Annual Salary Range: $79,600 - $143,300
Job Profile: Researcher II / Annual Salary Range: $73,200 - $120,800
NREL takes into consideration a candidate’s education, training, and experience, expected quality and quantity of work, required travel (if any), external market and internal value, including seniority and merit systems, and internal pay alignment when determining the salary level for potential new employees. In compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, a potential new employee’s salary history will not be used in compensation decisions.
Benefits Summary
Benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance; short*- and long-term disability insurance; pension benefits*; 403(b) Employee Savings Plan with employer match*; life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance; personal time off (PTO) and sick leave; paid holidays; and tuition reimbursement*. NREL employees may be eligible for, but are not guaranteed, performance-, merit-, and achievement- based awards that include a monetary component. Some positions may be eligible for relocation expense reimbursement. Limited-term positions are not eligible for long-term disability or tuition reimbursement.
  • Based on eligibility rules
Drug Free Workplace
NREL is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace in accordance with the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs. Under federal law, marijuana remains an illegal drug.
If you are offered employment at NREL, you must pass a pre-employment drug test prior to commencing employment. Unless prohibited by state or local law, the pre-employment drug test will include marijuana. If you test positive on the pre-employment drug test, your offer of employment may be withdrawn.
Submission Guidelines
Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.
EEO Policy
NREL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard basis of age (40 and over), color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, domestic partner status, military or veteran status, national origin/ancestry, race, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding), sexual orientation, and any other applicable status protected by federal, state, or local laws.
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