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Transcript from Daniel Herr’ Presentation on Meteorology Jobs in Clean Energy
1. METEOROLOGY JOBS IN CLEAN ENERGY
•How many current students do we have in the room?
•How many of you have worked in the Renewable Energy
•Has anyone here conducted research in Renewables?
•How many are interested in possibly getting a job in
2. Daniel Herr
Alright, well I’m Daniel Herr, just as it say right up there
on the slide and I am from Lake Tahoe and the Great State of Nevada; anyone
from Nevada here?
You may be wondering who is this kid up here talking to me,
I’m pretty sure he can’t be over 21, and I bet he don’t even know anything
about meteorology, and you’d be mostly right. I don’t know much about weather,
well really I’m here to learn about weather from you guys. But somebody thought
that I know a thing or two about Renewable Energy, and well I like free food,
so there you have it… dangerous thing giving me a mic.
3. Daniel Herr
And, well, I’ve had some cool experiences coaching high
school basketball, travelling the world, and chasing tornadic supercells… and
from time to time I fill in for Superman.
4. University of Nevada, Reno
And now for my shameless plug and my sponsor in coming here…
I am also a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Nevada, Reno where
I am currently pursuing my Masters in Business.
Now I am going to brush by a few fairly quickly here to get
to the more juicy stuff…
Geothermal, you get the idea, hot water comes out of the
earth, we put it through turbines, we make electricity, simple. Old faithful,
you get the picture. Geothermal is one that is hugely popular back home in
Nevada, not so much with sky pharmacists, moving on…
Biomass, basically burning biological stuffs; typically
chipped wood and the like. If its got carbon and energy it will probably burn.
Unless we have emissions restricted to cloudy days, meteorologist probably
don’t care too much about this one either…
Hydro, sure we want to know how much potential energy we
will have stored up from precipitation, and there is a profession known as
Hydrometeorological Predicting, but we’re not going to talk about that today….
Now you’ve all heard about this thing called the sun right?
It’s a Giant Nuclear Reactor, 93 million miles away, provides light, without it
we wouldn’t exist; right… so Solar energy is the most plentiful and powerful
here on Earth.
So yeah, the sun’s power virtually eclipses all other
current and potential forms of known energy and ultimately is the driving force
for most all other renewable sources.
Solar is well understood and I’ve played with it a bit
And so has Jim. This is Jim, I call him Mr. Nevada, but he
goes by Jim back home
But back to the point, Solar energy is pretty well
understood. We are pretty sure the sun is going to come up every day and we
have a pretty good idea about how much sun on average hits the earth throughout
the year. Based upon 30-year weather records, NREL compiled data into what they
call the RED Book for most major cities in the 90’s and now have an online
format for Photovoltaic developers and installers.
So today, more or less within a few clicks I can have most
everything that I need in understanding and financing a solar project. So aside
from revising, updating, and planning on a macro-scale for utility operations,
there may not be a ton of Meteorological opportunity in Solar.
But alas; here is what you have all been wanting to talk
about; the Sexy of renewable energy; Wind Power.
There is a lot about wind energy that is still misunderstood
or lost in the dark all together. Which is to say, there is an opportunity or
two out here for you…
Here is what I am talking about; Horn’s Rev. You may have
seen this before; Inter-row down-stream power losses due to vortex shedding and
wakes of upstream turbines. Horns Rev wind energy plant is 15 km off the coast
of Denmark. This picture threw may people in the industry into panic mode a few
years back. Holly crap, maybe wakes are a big deal!
The description I found about this said, “At the time the
photo was taken the pressure was close to the vaporizing pressure resulting in
a visualization of the wakes behind the turbines. In the wake the flow
structure is dissipated into smaller scales causing a pressure change which, in
this specific case, results in vaporization.”
But what I’m getting at is that this is where you are
needed. I have worked with a number of development companies like Invenergy,
Oak Creek Energy Systems, Mountain Wind Energy, and Great Basin Wind in Nevada
and California. The development of wind energy systems in the United States
depends upon locating, assessing and developing profitable locations for wind
And here is where I am going to break all the rules about
good powerpoint slides for the shear fact that you need to see all of this in
one place. There are a lot of needs that include your input.
In Nevada, for instance you can’t just wonder out in the
plains, set down a SoDAR and walk away. I work and live in the Sierra Nevadas
and the Great Basin. We call upon the expertise of meteorologists to help site
meteorological towers, Sonic Detection and Ranging and Light Detection and
In order to understand whether a location is appropriate for
the investment of upward of $2 Million dollars per wind turbine (not including
excavation and embankment work, infrastructure development such as roads, power
lines, and water), wind energy developers have to know beyond any doubt that a
location is suitable for development. We have to perform highly sensitive
long-term assessments of the potential. Usually focus on the expected average
energy production or what’s called the P50. We use Meteorological towers like
this one instrumented with anemometers, wind veins, barometric pressure
sensors, temperature sensors, solar power, data logging and GSM communication.
We are looking to minimize uncertainty and monetize the wind resource.
You may have heard about this thing called wind shear… yeah
it play a pretty big role. The industry standard for meteorological towers is
60m these days where wind turbines are getting taller and taller 80m – 125m+
(that’s 400 ft+). We have a hard time measuring that high with towers alone and
unfortunately invalid boundary-layer assumptions and applications of the
log-law have really hurt the industry.
We started trying to use SoDAR’s more and more, but you
cannot finance a project yet on SoDAR data by itself. In Nevada we’ve seen
complex terrain issues prove very puzzling problems. In particular we ran into
an issue with instruments atop hills where the wind was curving over the
hilltop and creating invalid measurements…
24. The Haves
But enough industry talk, where do you fit in with those
that are already in the industry?
25. Job Titles to Have
Here are some of the management job titles I’ve come across
in the industry relating to Meteorology
26. Working For
27. Job Titles to Have
28. Getting a Job
Now don’t expect to have those titles walking in the door,
you have to put in your time. So how do you do that?
29. Be The Guerrilla
Getting a job today requires being unconventional, creative,
and up with the times. Some call this “Guerrilla Marketing Yourself.” You can’t
just hand in your resume and expect to get the posted job.
30. Getting a Job
So I’ve got some quick tips for you… Start by getting the
right perspective. People are hiring, and they are looking for you, you just
need to know where and how. When you want to search for something, what do you
do? Google it right?
31. I’m Googling For You
So what do you think potential employers are doing?
Googling… But that’s just a start, a baseline, you have to weave the network,
meeting the players, and understanding what hiring managers are looking for.
Start the conversation.
32. Be Curious
And be curious. This is an article that was written about my
style in the Reno News and Review. I’m not saying it right for you, but be
unconventional and you’ll get noticed.
33. “…He gently knocked,
I knocked on the door with curiosity and general interest
and eventually the interest turned back toward me.
34. “…Then, as people do
Again, what I am saying is that you need to make your own
35. Next Steps
So how do you get started; do your homework, meet the
Seek your own truth
And climb on with determination until your reach the end…
which you will find is only a
39. EL FIN…