Open Position at the Schatz Center: Research Assistant or Engineering Technician

We are currently seeking one or more Research Assistants or Engineering Technicians to work at the Schatz Center in Arcata, California. Based on background skillsets, project needs, and interests, the selected applicant(s) will work in one or more of the following active research areas:

  • Offshore Wind Power: Examine the socioeconomic and policy dimensions of offshore wind power in Northern California by conducting stakeholder outreach and evaluating policies at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Off-Grid Solar for Rural Electrification – Product Performance Testing: Conduct laboratory and desk-based research, data analysis, and report writing/review to support deployment and quality assurance of off-grid solar electricity and/or solar water pumping systems in Africa and/or South Asia.
  • Off-Grid Solar for Rural Electrification – Analysis of Solar Product Users, Technology, & Impacts: Perform analysis of several nationally representative household energy surveys to characterize solar product users. Model environmental and welfare benefits/impacts of energy transitions. Develop and apply tools and approaches to assess the market-readiness of off-grid solar products.
  • Bioenergy: Analyze the performance of biomass conversion systems with physical testing and data analysis. Assess the quality of biomass and biochar products by conducting laboratory tests and physical assessments. Evaluate the market for biochar by designing and conducting interviews with biochar producers and consumers.
  • Renewable Energy Microgrids: Assist with microgrid and EV charging station design, permitting and regulatory processes. Assist with CAD drawing. Assist with evaluation of system benefits and business model. Construction observation.
  • Clean Transportation: Data processing and analysis of electric vehicle load projections. Perform optimization modeling to develop vehicle charging infrastructure. Review and apply equipment specifications. Contribute to translating analysis results to real world scenarios.

Application Deadline: All application materials must be received by 4 pm Pacific Time (US), Wednesday, December 19, 2018. A six-month commitment is required. Reappointment is desirable but contingent on funding, workload requirements, and performance.

Two technicians work with a solar module

Schatz engineering technicians measure the IV curve of a PV module

Schatz Energy Fall 2018 Newsletter

Page 1 of the Schatz Energy news

Our twice-annual print newsletter is now available to download. Features include:

  • The Schatz Center roof goes solar
  • A message from the Director
  • Project announcements and updates
  • Student research 2018
  • Lighting Global Quality Assurance updates
  • Northern CA coast offshore wind feasibility

Download the Fall 2018 Schatz Energy Newsletter

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.