Hydropower Engineer

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA, United States
Position Type: 
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Job Description

The Hydrology Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) seeks a Hydropower Engineer to lead and conduct research supporting PNNL’s Sustainable Hydropower Program. PNNL is nationally and internationally recognized for unique and innovative sustainable hydropower research, including fish monitoring, tracking, and survival in hydropower projects; turbine design and efficiency evaluation; hydropower operations impact on water quality; impact of future water availability on hydropower investments; energy-water nexus and optimal hydropower operation. PNNL seeks candidates with working knowledge and demonstrated experience in all aspects of hydropower engineering management and design (both inside and outside the powerhouse); operations and maintenance; instrumentation and sensing; and optimization, including balancing hydraulic, power, biological, and economic demands. Candidates should also be familiar with emerging technologies in hydropower operation, including cyber security challenges related to information technology/operation technology systems. The successful candidate will participate in and lead innovative research, strategy, and vision with a team of scientists. The successful candidate will leverage PNNL staff and facilities and external relationships to resolve critical science and engineering challenges to the development and operation of sustainable hydropower in the United States. Preference will be given to candidates with experience working with or for hydropower owner/operators, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, and the United States Bureau of Reclamation, or other organizations responsible for the operation of hydropower facilities.


Key responsibilities will be to effectively participate in multidisciplinary teams and provide technical direction on research projects. Specifically, the successful candidate will:

  • Help develop and execute PNNL vision to provide innovative and impactful science and technology solutions towards sustainable operation of hydropower projects and influence the direction of PNNL’s overall strategies in the areas of sustainable waterpower.
  • Understand the regulatory conditions that govern sustainable waterpower and devise novel techniques for communicating the results of those activities to the regulatory community.
  • Work with members of technical and management teams to develop proposals.
  • Play a role as part of a team of early-career and senior scientists and engineers across multiple disciplines in the conduct of laboratory and field-based research projects.
  • Publish key findings in high-impact peer-reviewed journals as well as present work at professional conferences.
  • Actively participate in industry conferences, workshops, and professional societies with strong experience in collaborative problem solving at the regional and national level.
  • Will develop expertise required to lead national and international technical networks with manufacturers, industry, academia, and other research organizations.
  • Comply with PNNL’s policies regarding environmental health and safety, waste management, and protection of intellectual property.

Accountabilities: Accountable to relevant sector managers, project management office directors, and technical group managers for project development, execution, and closure.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor's degree with 5 years of experience; Master's with 3 years of experience; or PhD with 1 years of experience

Preferred Qualifications

  • Well-established research reputation with professional achievements, including excellent technical writing skills.
  • Demonstrated participation in multidisciplinary efforts to provide solutions to complex problems where the problems are characterized by lack of precedents, source material, or lack of prior success.
  • Ability to effectively communicate within a team environment and with sponsors and partners.
  • Demonstrated success at proposal development and project management.
  • Well connected to and respected by the hydropower community in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Professional engineering registration not required, but my be a benefit

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at jobs.pnnl.gov.

Other Information

This position involves business development efforts that will require travel to off-site locations. This position may involve working on a boat as well as on and within large hydropower project infrastructure.