Open Position at the Schatz Center: Student Research Assistant

We are seeking a Student Research Assistant (SRA) to work on the development of an electric bus charging infrastructure optimization model. This work will involve programming in the R language, data processing and analysis, and basic GIS work.

The anticipated start date is on or near January 16, 2019. A one-year commitment is requested. This position is part-time, with an expected time base of 10 hours per week during the academic year and 20 hours per week during the summer. This is a temporary, non-benefited, non-exempt (hourly), non-state position. Compensation will be $11.28-$17.82 per hour, depending on skills and experience.

Application Deadline: All application materials must be received by 4 pm Pacific Time (US), Monday, December 17, 2018.

Students on the lawn of the Schatz Center

Student fellows, docents, and assistants at the Schatz Energy Research Center

Open Position at the Schatz Center: Research Engineer or Energy Analyst

We are seeking a research engineer or energy analyst to join our team in Arcata, California. The successful applicant will contribute technical and/or analytical content and assist with project implementation in one or more project areas including electric power systems, renewable energy system deployment, clean transportation, energy planning and policy, energy system integration, and/or bioenergy. Depending on skills and experience, the selected candidate may be hired for a mid-level or senior-level position.

This work provides an opportunity to make substantive contributions to the development of clean and renewable energy. (Learn more about our capabilities and our current projects…)

Application Deadline: The position is open until filled. Application materials received by 4 pm Pacific Time (US), Wednesday, December 19, 2018 will receive first consideration.

Schatz Center from above

Director’s Note: November 2018

Headshot of Arne Jacobson

The Camp Fire in Butte County has been the most damaging wildfire in California history. Hurricanes, wildfires, cyclones, floods, and heat waves are taking a heavy toll on communities around the globe. While no single weather event can be linked directly to climate change, weather disasters as a whole are expected to become increasingly common and destructive as climate change progresses.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent special report on the prospect of limiting climate change to a 1.5°C global average temperature rise relative to pre-industrial conditions indicates that global net human-caused greenhouse gas emissions need to decline before 2030 by about 45% relative to 2010 levels. It is imperative that we do all we can to make progress toward this goal given the expected damages associated with a failure to do so. Simultaneously, given the climate disruption that is already baked into the system, actions to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to climate damages are also needed.

Our work at the Schatz Center is strongly motivated by these challenges. Our renewable energy microgrid work combines efforts to integrate more solar power into the electrical grid while increasing resilience for critical infrastructure including emergency response centers, fuel stations, airports, and Coast Guard facilities. Likewise, our upcoming feasibility analysis of offshore wind development along California’s northern coast will explore a large potential new clean energy resource for our state. Through these and other efforts, we continue to promote clean and renewable energy and to otherwise take measures to address global climate change.

Measures to address climate change will be most effective if they are crafted by diverse teams from all walks of life. Over the past six months, we have been doing some introspective work at the Center related to staff diversity and an inclusive work environment. We held an all-day retreat in August that focused on these topics, and we have begun implementing measures identified at the retreat and subsequent staff and subcommittee meetings. As we work to make progress, I appreciate the thoughtfulness and initiative that our team has brought to the table. We are committed for the long haul when it comes to making a positive difference regarding diversity and inclusion. The successes that we achieve will make us a stronger and more effective organization.

A group photo of 35 staff standing outside the Wharfinger Building in Eureka

Schatz team at the August retreat

I will close by welcoming Carisse Geronimo and Grishma Raj Dahal to the Schatz Center. Both are graduate students in the Energy Technology and Policy (ETaP) master’s program, and they joined us in August. Carisse is the first recipient of the Donald and Andrea Tuttle Fellowship for Clean Energy Studies. She is working with Dr. Sintana Vergara and other Schatz Center colleagues on biomass energy, waste management, and associated opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Grishma, who received the Schatz Energy Fellowship, is working with our off-grid energy access team on research related to off-grid solar power. We are very glad to have them on our team.

Happy winter holidays, and goodbye until next time.

~ Arne

Northern CA coast offshore wind feasibility study

On October 25, the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University was awarded a grant from the California Ocean Protection Council (a division of the California Department of Natural Resources), to study the feasibility of offshore wind generation for the Northern California coast. The $623k grant will assess the environmental impacts, determine the required modifications of coastal infrastructure, examine stakeholder benefits and impacts, and evaluate local, state, and federal policies as they relate to offshore wind development.

A map of the northern CA coastal region included in this analysis, from Fort Bragg to southern Del Norte County. Average wind speeds are shown.

The feasibility analysis will cover selected areas in this region

Offshore wind energy is likely to play an important role in meeting California’s targets for carbon neutrality by 2045. The offshore wind resource near Humboldt Bay is among the best in the nation, with wind speeds often exceeding 10 meters per second at 90 meters above the ocean’s surface (Schwartz 2010), which is the approximate height of wind turbines. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the state’s offshore winds have the technical potential to produce 392 TWh per year, about 150% of California’s annual electricity load (Musial 2016).

Analysis of North Coast wind speed data has shown that the wind power is fairly consistent throughout the day (Musial 2016) when compared to other renewable resources such as land-based wind or solar. Offshore wind could provide a more consistent power flow to the grid, which in turn would support increased integration of technologies with highly variable generation throughout the day, such as solar. But California’s deep ocean floor, sensitive ecosystems, seismic activity, and protected coastlines, will require careful research and development in order to responsibly develop offshore wind projects. Engaging California’s coastal communities — who have the most to lose from sea level rise due to climate change — in early research and planning is critical for successful future development efforts.

The project is expected to kickoff in early 2019. For this project, the Schatz Energy Research Center is collaborating with ecological consultants from H.T. Harvey and Associates, coastal engineering specialists from Mott MacDonald, and faculty in the Economics and Environmental Science & Management departments at Humboldt State.

References

CLASP and IFC affiliated team members visit the Schatz Center

Last week, the Lighting Global team hosted Riley Macdonald from CLASP and Honglin Hui, a consultant to the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Riley recently joined the CLASP team as Market Development Coordinator and is based in Washington, DC. Honglin recently joined the IFC team as a Lighting Global China consultant and is based in Shenzhen, China.

Riley and Honglin participated in three days of training designed to increase their understanding of the Lighting Global Quality Assurance program. The training included sessions on testing methods, standards, and policies used by the Lighting Global Quality Assurance program, as well as hands-on work in the test lab. We also met to discuss approaches for outreach to Chinese manufacturers that are reflective of Chinese business culture and represent best practices for cross-language communication.

Arne and Honglin inspect a module in the Schatz Center's off-grid solar products test lab.

Arne Jacobson and Honglin Hui inspect a solar module.

Kaileigh Vincent-Welling and Riley Macdonald work in the Schatz Center's off-grid solar products test lab.

Kaileigh Vincent-Welling demonstrates the solar charge test for Riley Macdonald.

An extended hand turns the dial on an Electronic Load, which reads 0.0003V and 0.002A.

Scott Toyama shows how an electronic load is used to test the port performance of off-grid solar products.

Six people stand in a narrow, wet canyon with fern-covered walls.

Our visitors join the team for a hike in Fern Canyon.