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Summer 2011 Blog - Xiao Su

Xiao Su is spending his Cal Energy Corps internship working for the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

 

June 29, 2011

The World Bank (WB) is a big organization with over 11,000 employees around the world. They rarely accept undergraduate student interns, so I really appreciate this opportunity.

 
In my first few weeks at the World Bank I've attended numerous workshops
and meetings on renewable energy.

On the first day of work, my mentor Dan Kammen showed me around the World Bank and introduced me to the staff in the Sustainable Energy Department (SEG). Dan is my overall mentor, but I also have a direct  supervisor, Xiaolu Yu, who is working with me on a day-to-day basis. Because of the Bank’s need, I am working closely with the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) department on China Renewable Energy Scale-up Program (CRESP). It has been developed by the Government of China (GOC) in cooperation with the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to provide assistance with the implementation of a renewable energy policy development and investment program. It has entered into Phase 2, which focuses on China's national grid and how to integrate renewable energy sources into the power grid and how to transmit electricity from the western to the eastern regions. In the past weeks, I have done several tasks for this program. I wrote a memo analyzing China’s experimentation with carbon trading in six provinces/municipalities. I also collected information on China State Grid Corporation’s 12th Five Year Plan.

 
 

I am currently learning how to use HOMER, an energy modeling software for designing and analyzing hybrid power systems. The main task for me is to build a high-level model using HOMER to set up a big picture analysis of demand-generation and long-distance transmission in China. I think this is a great project for me because it is consistent with my future career plans. Eventually I want to return to China to work on renewable energy issues. I am glad that I can contribute to the program because I know Chinese, so I can get the first-hand information which is not available in English.

 

I have also encountered some challenges in my work. Some of my tasks are fairly technical for me (I am an Environmental Economics major). When the staff here gave me technical papers to read or when they asked me to research some technical background information, the assignments quickly became challenging for me. Perhaps the most challenging job I have had so far, was when I was asked to provide comments on a project review. I did not only need to understand the overall context of the project but also needed to have a fairly high level understanding of the overall importance to the World Bank's programs.

 

I have enjoyed getting to know my World Bank colleagues.

Another difficulty for me is that almost everyone at the World Bank has an accent. Since I am not a native English speaker myself, I guess I fit in. On the other hand, I sometimes have difficulties to understand everything. I am glad that there are other interns who can explain things to me, if necessary. 

So far the World Bank is a both challenging and interesting place. You can really learn a lot here, if you put in the effort. I will provide more context in my next posting.

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