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In addition to the value an academic degree in an energy field provides, internships are an excellent way for students and professionals to gain vital experience in the energy industry and differentiate themselves from other candidates when searching for jobs. Energy internships are as varied as the career paths and types of organizations in this industry.
In this guide we will introduce the different sectors within the energy field, highlight the types of organizations within each of these sectors, and give links to real internship opportunities within the energy field.
- Energy internships are an invaluable tool for learning real-world job skills and impressing future employers.
- Our list contains scores of energy internship opportunities in the private sector, public sector, and NGOs. Even the Department of Energy and NREL offer programs.
- You should be able to find an internship to match your career goals. Energy engineers may be interested in work on smart grids & solar development; sustainability students may wish to intern for environmental organizations.
Types of Energy Organizations
To help you understand and narrow your internship search, we have categorized energy organizations into key buckets. Each of these types of companies, organizations, or agencies offers internships to students or qualified candidates.
The private sector in energy refers to privately-owned companies and businesses that are involved in the exploration, production, generation, distribution, or sale of energy resources or services for commercial purposes.
The following types of companies are examples of those in the private sector:
- Utilities (investor-owned and cooperative electricity, natural gas, and water utilities)
- Energy companies (e.g., renewable energy firms, fossil fuel companies)
- Consulting companies offering energy-related services
- Energy engineering firms
- Solar and wind energy developers and manufacturers
- Energy efficiency and green building companies
- Smart grid and energy management technology providers
In energy, the public sector refers to government-owned or government-controlled entities that are responsible for regulating, managing, and providing energy-related services to the public, such as public utilities or national energy agencies.
The following types of organizations or agencies are examples of those in the public sector:
- Government agencies (Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, state and local governments, energy laboratories)
- Universities, research institutions, and laboratories specializing in energy research
- Utilities (publicly-owned or municipal electricity, natural gas, or water utilities)
The nonprofit or nongovernmental (NGO) sector in energy refers to organizations that operate independently of the government and are dedicated to advancing energy-related causes: research, education, providing energy services to underserved communities, or advancing environmental objectives. Focused on a specific mission, these organizations do not have the primary responsibility to shareholders or owners.
The following types of companies are examples of those in the nonprofit or nongovernmental sector:
- Nonprofit organizations focused on energy and sustainability
- Environmental organizations with energy-related initiatives
Energy Internships in the Private Sector
Private companies in the energy sector offer a multitude of energy-related internships to students and aspiring professionals. These opportunities span across various areas, including renewable energy, smart grids, fossil fuels, and energy consulting.
Interns get hands-on experience working on real projects while contributing to the company’s growth and innovation. They gain exposure to cutting-edge technologies, industry best practices, and business operations, setting a strong foundation for their careers.
Additionally, these internships often come with mentorship, networking opportunities, and a chance to explore potential career paths within the dynamic and evolving energy industry, making them highly sought-after opportunities for future energy professionals.
List of Private Sector Energy Internships
- Portland Gas and Electric (PGE) – Earn valuable work experience for your résumé with a training opportunity in a dynamic and rapidly changing industry.
- Duke Energy Internship – Gain hands-on experience in challenging projects and opportunities to network and learn from some of the brightest minds in business.
- Engie Project Management and Support Intern – Work in the Project Management Team to understand all aspects of project execution on a specific energy program.
- NextEra Energy – Current students can learn valuable professional skills in the renewable energy or conservation fields.
- ICF – Gain the opportunity to work with a global consulting firm that focuses on services in various industries, including energy, environment, and climate change.
Energy Engineering Firms
- San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) Engineering Internship Program – Gain experience working with utility industry experts and utilizing leading technologies to deliver clean and safe energy to customers.
- HDR – Pair with full-time staff to play a critical role in contributing to engineering projects, with the opportunity to transition into a full-time role yourself.
Solar and Wind Developer
- First Solar – Use real-world experience to find new solutions and develop skills to further advance your competencies.
Energy Efficiency/Green Building Companies
- US Green Building Council – Learn project management skills and an understanding of green building.
Smart Grid Companies
- Itron – Support a real-life energy project to help customers meet their goals.
Energy Internships in the Public Sector
Governmental agencies—like the Department of Energy— offer a wide array of energy-related internships to students and young professionals.
These internships cover diverse fields like renewable energy, energy policy, research, and more. Participants gain hands-on experience, contributing to local, state, and national energy goals, tackling industry challenges, and confronting the ever-growing threat of climate change.
Government involvement in shaping energy policies makes these opportunities highly valuable, and interns often get access to experts and networking prospects.
Overall, these internships serve as a crucial platform for aspiring energy professionals to make a meaningful impact while learning from and working alongside industry leaders in the public sector.
List of Public Sector Energy Internships
- Department of Energy – Support mission critical initiatives in real-life jobs.
- Environmental Protection Agency – Both current students and recent graduates can find positions with the EPA to advance career knowledge and skills.
- National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) – Strengthen skills through professional development on state-of-the-art systems.
- University of California, San Diego – Gain experience working on university energy research projects.
- New York University Nonprofit Sustainability Internship Program – NYU offers financial support to students interested in nonprofit internships to help find market-based solutions to sustainability challenges.
- California Public Utilities Commissions (CPUC) – Interns have the opportunity to lead a project or initiative in emerging energy issues in California.
Energy Internships in the Nonprofit/Nongovernmental Sector
The nonprofit and nongovernmental (NGO) sector offers a plethora of energy-related internships with a focus on social and environmental causes. These internships cover areas like sustainable energy access, climate change mitigation, energy education, and community-driven projects.
Interns gain valuable experience working on impactful initiatives that benefit underserved communities and promote renewable energy adoption. Allowing participants to make a tangible difference in the energy transition, these opportunities often provide a unique blend of hands-on fieldwork, research, and advocacy.
Additionally, interns benefit from exposure to grassroots efforts, networking with passionate professionals, and cultivating a deeper understanding of the intersection between energy, society, and the environment.
List of Nonprofit/Nongovernmental Sector Internships
Energy Nonprofit Organizations
- 350 Colorado – The Legislative Action Internship offers experience in political activism under initiatives like renewable energy adoption and emissions reductions.
Earth Justice – Providing students with meaningful projects to advance their understanding of environmental issues.