Fellowship Program

The Energy Transition Institute awarded four fellowships for its inaugural 2020 Fellowship Program, each of whom will conduct analysis and complete a research project in 2020 focused on energy resource planning and market reform in the Carolinas, in support of the region's ongoing transition to zero-carbon energy.

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Edgar Virguez

Edgar Virguez is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. His research evaluates North Carolina’s transition to a deeply decarbonized electric power sector by incorporating operations research, data science and geospatial analysis into a common framework. 


For his contributions to the field, Edgar was recently named a 2020 K Patricia Cross Future Leader Awardee, and an inaugural member of the Digital Education Bass Fellowship. Earlier, he was named an Energy Data Analytics Fellow, an Energy Doctoral Student Fellow and a Rodolfo Llinas Scholar. 


Previously, Edgar worked for a decade promoting the adoption of cleaner fuels in transport and industry throughout Latin America, while advancing his academic administrative career. Edgar holds a MSc in Environmental Sciences, a MSc. in Environmental Engineering, a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering. The most important facet of Edgar´s life is his role as a husband of Temis Coral, father of Hannah Maria and owner of Brownie (the coolest Old English Sheepdog).

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Gennelle Wilson

Gennelle Wilson holds a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from Duke University and a BA from NC State University. Prior to her fellowship, Gennelle worked with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, where she was a leading contributor to the NC Energy Efficiency Roadmap process and provided research and strategic advising pertaining to the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan. She also previously conducted research at the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) focused on avoided cost regulations, demand-side management, and community solar. 


Cumulatively, Gennelle has eight years of experience and brings with her skills in research, data analysis, strategic planning and execution, executive leadership advising, collaborative facilitation, and project management, including five years at RTI International, where she was a Senior Strategy Analyst. She is passionate about the transition to a clean energy future in NC and state-level policies that can hasten the downward trajectory of emissions from the power sector. A proud North Carolina native, Gennelle lives in Durham with her husband and basset hound, Dixie. 

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Matthew Butner

Matthew Butner is an Economic Fellow at NYU's Institute for Policy Integrity, a non-partisan think tank, where he works on electricity markets, carbon pricing, and transportation policy.


In 2019, he earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Colorado, where he specialized in environmental economics, energy markets, and industrial organization. His current academic research uses econometrics to evaluate competition in wholesale electricity markets, the optimal design of environmental policies, and the impact of the shale revolution on the U.S. electricity mix. 


Before his Ph.D., Matt received a B.A. and a B.S., summa cum laude, from the University of South Florida. 

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Tyler Fitch

Tyler Fitch is Regulatory Manager for the Southeast at Vote Solar, where he does economic and regulatory research to support inclusive, clean state energy policies. To date, he has presented expert testimony in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia.


Previously, Tyler was a Climate Corps Fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund, a Research Analyst at ICF International, and a graduate consultant for Southern California Edison.


He received his MS in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan and a BS in Environmental Sciences from UNC-Chapel Hill. He's driven by the hope that our response to the climate crisis will create a more just and inclusive world.