News & Events

A celebration of clean energy innovation, creativity and knowledge exchange

December 16, 2016

UBC MEL marks the inaugural CEEN Capstone Showcase Conference and Industry Night .

As the global renewable energy sector continues to experience rapid advancement — bolstered by government incentives, new technologies and climate accords — British Columbia and Canada are increasingly well-positioned to reap the benefits of international investment and employment growth. At UBC, the latest graduating cohort of the Masters of Engineering Leadership (MEL) program represent a talented pool of innovators inspired to find new ways to partner with industry to advance the sector.

December 12 marked the inaugural Clean Energy Engineering (CEEN) Capstone Showcase Conference and Industry Night. The all-day event was a showing of innovation, curiosity and creativity in the field of clean energy, and celebrated the culmination of a four-month Capstone Project course for MEL students. The cohort of 21 spent the day presenting clean energy engineering projects, conceived as potential solutions to address real-world industry, market or societal needs.

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The MEL Capstone projects are designed to offer students practical experience leading complex, multidisciplinary projects that align with their professional specialization — in this case, clean energy engineering. The course is delivered in partnership with industry, a collaboration that translates into real world experience and the development of project management and presentation skills.

Following the conference, industry night kicked off with a keynote presentation from Dr. Paul Kariya, executive director of Clean Energy BC — an organization that promotes and supports the sustainable growth of the clean energy sector in the province.

He called on the audience to think in a more collaborative way about the development of the clean energy sector in BC. In particular, he encouraged more active partnership and engagement with First Nations communities who have a significant role to play in helping to advance sustainable clean energy projects across the province.

“The clean energy revolution is absolutely sweeping the world, and the revolution is underway,” Kariya said. “There’s no stopping the wave of activity in the Canadian and global clean energy space.”

CEEN co-directors Walter Merida and Vladan Prodanovic later called the event a “celebration of clean energy,” marking the first time that alumni and industry nights have been combined with the Capstone project presentations.

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But more than just celebration, the all-day conference also served as a source of knowledge exchange and professional networking amongst the graduating cohort, alumni and industry. For many of this year’s graduates, the conference was the first time they had seen the outcomes of their fellow students’ projects, which were presented throughout the day to an audience of industry, alumni and incoming students.

“I greatly appreciated the connections I made through the program and continue to take every opportunity I can to meet current students and prospective graduates,” said Jermin Hsieh, CEEN alumnus and now energy utilization manager at Fortis BC. “I feel more connected to the CEEN community and it has also allowed me to make introductions within our community to help with either employment or business opportunities.”

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The 2016 Capstone projects represent projects from across all areas of clean energy, featuring partnerships with industry across the public and private sector, including: AYO, SES Consulting, UBC CIRS, Fortis BC, Surrey City Energy, TRAK International, Heliolytics, Midgard Consulting (SaskPower) and Polymer Research Technologies.