Beth Elliott, Project Manager at the Grid Deployment Office

Beth Elliott (she/they) is a Project Manager with the Territory and Recovery Assistance Programs team at the Grid Deployment Office (GDO), which also includes the Department of Energy’s Puerto Rico Grid Recovery and Modernization Team. She is currently managing programming within GDO’s Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund, including the Solar Ambassador Prize, which is aimed to accelerate the installation of residential solar and battery storage systems on roughly 30,000–40,000 homes across Puerto Rico. Before starting with GDO in March 2023, Beth worked within the community solar industry as a natural resources scientist and community organizer. She has also worked on farms across the southern United States to learn about off-grid living and sustainable agriculture. Beth received her Bachelor of Science in environmental biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is looking forward to pursuing graduate study opportunities in the future. Beth’s interest in energy stems from her passion for environmental justice and energy equality.

 

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What’s one word you would use to describe GDO?
Innovative


What inspired you to work in the energy and grid realm?  
I have always been passionate about environmental justice and energy equality, especially increasing access to clean, renewable energy to groups historically excluded from the clean energy movement. I firmly believe that everyone should have access to affordable, renewable energy, and GDO is working hard to advance programs that do just that. My work within the community solar sector was my first step into energy justice work, and now I have the privilege of managing the Solar Ambassador Prize, which is actively engaging disadvantaged communities experiencing energy crisis in swift and equitable clean energy adoption.


What most interested you about coming to work at GDO?
The chance to truly make a difference in the advancement of equitable clean energy policy and programs on the federal level.


What excites you about your work at GDO?
I am excited every day by the fact that I can see the actual positive impact of the work we do at GDO. As a result of my current projects, pathways to equitable clean energy are being created in Puerto Rico. So many creative and innovative ideas come from this group, and the people I work with inspire me to think outside the box and learn all I can to benefit the work we do. 


What does a typical day at GDO look like for you? 
I have the privilege of working from home, so I wake up early, go to the gym and walk my dog, and log on around 8/8:30 am. I like to play records in the morning to get me in a happy, productive mood. I drink a lot of coffee throughout the day because I make it in my kitchen, and my days are usually quite busy with a combination of independent work, emails and Teams correspondence, and team meetings. I maintain my work/life balance by ending my workday with another long walk, run, or hike with my dog.


Do you have any tips for someone looking to enter your field of work?
You don’t have to be an engineer or a super-seasoned industry professional to get involved in energy and transmission! Our team is made up of people from all backgrounds, walks of life, and levels of experience, and that is one of our many positive assets. Working for the government doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in your work or approach; it means there are lots of opportunities to think creatively and work collaboratively to make change.