Jamie Manley is a Program Associate with the Paulson Institute, founded by former Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson, a great organization working to strengthen US-China relations by advancing sustainable economic growth in both countries. For those remotely interested in analysis, policy, diplomacy or geopolitics, Jamie’s experience is a valuable resource. As Jamie mentions below, prior to the Paulson Institute, he also spent significant time working on off-grid solar in India (a space he is bullish on) and just this month he wrote a terrific piece analyzing India’s struggles to efficiently make use of its growing renewable energy capacity. Check it out here on Greentech Media. I learned a lot from Jamie’s experiences and I hope you will, too. Enjoy!
Name, Title and Organization
Jamie Manley, Program Associate, Paulson Institute
Educational Background (e.g., college, major, any graduate school or additional certifications)
Environmental Studies and East Asian Studies Major at the University of Chicago
How do you stay informed on your sector?
The Energy Gang Podcast by Greentech Media is an amazing resource for hearing what’s top of mind for energy experts.
What does a typical day look like in your current role? What are your primary responsibilities?
The Paulson Institute is a “think-and-do” tank, and my work reflects this. I’ll usually be doing a mix of planning for our on-ground programs (e.g. study tours in the US for Chinese government officials) and research for papers or articles we are writing.
Why did you first want to work in renewable energy / clean technologies?
I read a little too much about climate change and was terrified about the potential consequences.
What are your two favorite aspects of your job?
I really believe in the Paulson Institute’s mission to improve bilateral relations between China and the US around sustainable economic development and environmental protection. If either of these countries isn’t working to prevent climate change, it’ll be hard to make progress globally. I also enjoy working with my fellow colleagues at the Institute, although unfortunately most of them are in Beijing and I’m interacting with them through conference calls.
If someone was interviewing for your role, or a role like yours, what would they need to demonstrate in the interview to give themselves an advantage?
Having a good understanding of the specific industry an organization works in really helps you talk intelligently about why you are interested in working somewhere. I was lucky because I wrote my senior thesis in college about the Chinese wind industry, which gave me insight into a lot of the topics the Paulson Institute works on.
To perform your job well, what is the most necessary skill or personality characteristic, and why?
Speaking Chinese helps!
What is the one bit of advice you would offer a young person hoping to break into renewable energy / clean technologies?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions I had in college was that you had to be an engineer or a scientist to work in cleantech. In fact, there are all sorts of roles in the cleantech industry to engage people with different skills and interests. We need journalists, lawyers, bankers, artists, etc.
What is something you have learned in your job that surprised you?
One of my first projects at the Paulson Institute was researching industrial emissions in China. It turns out that China alone makes half of the all the steel and concrete in the world, and until recently almost all of it was used domestically. The carbon emissions associated with just steel and cement production account for around 20% of all emissions in China, which is already the largest emitter in the world. That blew my mind.
Other than the focus of your work, which realm (technology, geography, or other) of renewable energy / clean technologies is particularly interesting to you right now and why?
I was working in off-grid solar for a different job in India last year, which I think is an incredibly exciting sector. There’s huge potential for improving the lives of the billion people living off the grid globally, and increasingly the private sector can serve these customers profitably. It’s also a fairly young industry, so companies are trying out all sorts of different models for delivering these services and seeing what works best.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Extra hours in the day.
Thanks Jamie! Keep up the great work!