ISO New England is a non-profit organization that is responsible for the operation of the power grid and the design and administration of the wholesale electricity markets in the six New England states. To achieve these goals, we employ a diverse workforce with expertise in engineering, economics, public policy, computer science, and regulatory law.
ISO economists play a key role in the organization’s mission, as they are responsible for the design of the ISO’s $10 billion suite of auction-based electricity markets. In these markets, participants buy and sell a variety of products and services including – for example – very short-run (every five-minute) transactions for energy delivery, and multi-year forward contracts that facilitate the entry and exit of new technologies and generation facilities. The ISO’s team of economists work collaboratively to identify and propose market design innovations and solutions that improve the efficiency of these markets and enable them to work harmoniously with regulatory, environmental, and public policy goals.
ISO’s team of PhD-trained economists use tools that draw from a range of micro-economic fields such as industrial organization, auction theory, mechanism design, environmental economics, and finance. In this role, the ISO’s economists oversee quantitative assessments of the markets’ performance; plan new market design improvements; write technical reports and papers to explain market outcomes and recommendations to improve market efficiency; and present findings to internal and external audiences. A key component of this role involves helping market participants and regulators understand how and why specific economic proposals would improve auction designs and market performance.
To facilitate their work, the economist team at the ISO has access to an exceptional level of computational resources and support. This includes a team of market/research analysts able to support research on market design ideas; and an array of professional programmers, data analysts, engineers, and optimization experts that provide programming support, conduct data work, and help with technical implementation of market design recommendations.
We seek candidates with a strong background in empirical, applied, or theoretical microeconomics who are interested in joining a team that conducts timely economic analysis with significant real-world impact. New economists are not expected to have a background in energy economics or deep familiarity with how competitive electricity markets work, as we expect this expertise to be developed while working at the ISO.
How You Will Make an Impact
The economist position at the ISO offers a unique opportunity to have a direct, significant, and lasting impact on real-world outcomes while working in a rapidly-evolving industry that is at the forefront of public and environmental policy discussions. In this role, you would work closely with the other ISO economists and with multi-disciplinary teams to develop recommendations to improve the economic performance of the ISO’s electricity markets. This involves economic modeling, writing, and presenting clear explanations of economic ideas.
Given the diversity of markets and products, and the rapid rate of technological innovation presently, there is no shortage of interesting and challenging market design questions for the economist team to assess. Our analysis and recommendations draw from a wide range of micro-economic fields, and often contemplate novel economic questions relating to the following topics:
- Designing auctions for lumpy and complementary goods
- Structuring contracts and products to incent efficient behavior
- Developing markets that balance competing public policy objectives
- Susceptibility of market designs and structures to the exercise of market power by buyers and sellers
- How to efficiently allocate risk among market participants
- The role of information in achieving more efficient market outcomes
What We Are Looking For
- A Ph.D. in Economics (or closely related discipline), with a background in a micro-economic field such as industrial organization, micro-economic theory, mechanism design, environmental economics, auction theory, finance, regulatory economics, and/or information economics
- An interest in conducting research that will inform public policy and have significant real-world impacts on the electricity sector
- Ability to formulate and explain economic models and use them to develop sound, practical solutions to market design challenges
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including ability to work collaboratively and present to a diverse set of audiences
- Some programming skills/knowledge of optimization (e.g. Matlab, GAMS) or statistical software (e.g. SAS, R) is desirable, but not required
- Candidates are not required to have knowledge of how competitive electricity markets work or to have previously conducted research in energy economics – though any such background is a plus