Clean Energy Engineering students at the IREA conference
Recap: MEL in Clean Energy Engineering students Manish Soni and Thi Nguyen participated in the International Renewable Energy Academy Conference
From June 19-23, the International Renewable Energy Academy (IREA) — an association created to meet the rapidly growing need to cultivate leaders who are focused on achieving 100% renewable energy (RE) and zero waste targets — hosted their 2017 conference at York University and Oxford County. The conference focused on experiential learning opportunities and constant innovation in renewable energy sectors.
IREA members traveled from across the world to attend the event. With strong interests in expanding their clean energy professional network across Canada and beyond, two current UBC MEL in Clean Energy Engineering program students, Manish Soni and Thi Nguyen, were invited to attend the IREA conference.
The weeklong event kicked off with a few inaugural presentations, which were followed by an intensive two-day workshop on RETScreen® Expert led by Michael Ross from RER Energy Inc. and Gregory J. Leng from RETScreen® International. This workshop included case studies relating to major renewable energy technologies and provided high-level knowledge of the key features and functionalities of RETScreen® Expert — a strong tool for modeling clean energy technology projects. Manish described the training as a supplement to the knowledge he is gaining through the coursework in the MEL in Clean Energy Engineering program, as he learned to apply the concepts of clean energy in designing and conducting the feasibility analysis of RE projects.
During the keynote speeches, Steven Strong, President of Solar Design Associates, and Paul Gipe, author, advocate and analyst of the RE industry, shared their expertise and knowledge about the solar and wind energy sectors, respectively. As part of the conference program, IREA attendees participated in three guided tours of the manufacturing processes:
- Silfab Solar in Mississauga (the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in North America, with 300 MW per year capacity)
- Siemens Blade Manufacturing in Tillsonberg (a wind turbine blade manufacturing facility)
- 18MW Oxford County Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm in Ontario (one of many RE community installations)
On the last day of IREA 2017, a declaration of action was made to serve as a call for global transition towards clean energy to mitigate the impacts of global warming. The full text of declaration will be posted on IREA website at a later date.
The IREA 2017 conference provided a great opportunity for the MEL students to meet with passionate and ambitious professionals, government representatives and advocates in RE sectors who are involved and committed to increase the RE footprint across the globe. “Getting to know practical RE projects and technologies, meeting the real people who are involved in RE project development, and knowing different aspects of a RE project” created a unique experience for Thi to learn from all these clean energy professionals.
Taking their new insights back to UBC, Manish is currently applying the gained RETScreen® Expert knowledge in his capstone project and will apply his knowledge in future projects in the clean energy industry. Thi will utilize RETScreen® Expert for energy modeling and analysis of energy options, as well as policy analysis for 100% RE communities that are an emerging movement in Canada, North America and the world.