Meteorology Jobs in Renewable Energy


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I encourage you to visit my blog ( for the true transcript of my presentation and the recorded video.

Talk given by Daniel Herr on Job Opportunities for Meteorological Students in Clean Energy at the 2012 American Meteorological Society Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday the 21st of January, 2012. **Please be aware that some of the fonts changed the look of the slides during upload**

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  • Poll Audience:How many current students do we have in the room?How many of you have worked in the Renewable Energy Industry?Has anyone here conducted research in Renewables?How many are interested in possibly getting a job in Renewable Energy?
  • 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.
  • And, well, I’ve had some cool experiences coaching high school basketball, travelling the world, and chasing tornadicsupercells… and from time to time I fill in for Superman.
  • 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 turbines.
  • 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 Ranging Instruments.
  • 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 orwhats 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…
  • But enough industry talk, where do you fit in with those that are already in the industry?
  • Here are some of the management job titles I’ve come across in the industry relating to Meteorology
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • And be curious. This is an article what 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.
  • I knocked on the door with curiosity and general interest and eventually the interest turned back toward me.
  • Again, what I am saying is that you need to make your own opportunities.
  • So how do you get started; do your homework, meet the players,
  • be unconventional
  • Seek your own truth
  • And climb on with determination until your reach the end… which you will find is only a new beginning.
  • Thank You
  • Meteorology Jobs in Renewable Energy

    2. 2. Daniel Herr
    3. 3. Daniel Herr
    4. 4.  MBA Program  #4 in the Nation for part-time programs Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Home of Colin Kaepernick
    5. 5. RE:newable.energyClean Tech you say?
    6. 6.
    7. 7.
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    12. 12.
    13. 13.
    14. 14. NREL Redbook
    15. 15.
    16. 16.
    17. 17. Opportunities:  Research  Resource Assessment & Development  Scheduling
    18. 18.
    19. 19. WIND.energyWhere you‟re needed
    20. 20. Prospecting  Suitability  Wind rose  Wind shear  Land acquisition  Turbulence Intensity Wind characteristics  Extreme wind  Wind frequency  Energy trading/off-take distribution  Temporal distribution -  Long-term mean 12x24  Hub height wind speed  Forecasting Modeling  Financing  Spatial detail  Debt sizing (uncertainty)  Model adjustments  Operational support  Wake modeling  Power curve testing
    21. 21.
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    24. 24. The HavesWhat do they have?
    25. 25. Job Titles to Have Senior Vice President, Meteorology and Wind Analysis, Wind Capital Group Manager of Meteorology, Iberdrola Renewables Manager, Wind Resource Department, GENIVAR Wind Director, Wind Assessment, Acciona Energy
    26. 26. Working For
    27. 27. Job Titles to Have Director of Meteorology, TradeWind Energy Wind Resource Manager, Shell WindEnergy, Inc. Assistant Professor, Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado – Boulder Director of Asset Management and Meteorology, Noble Environmental Power
    28. 28. Getting a JobWhat you really care about
    29. 29. BeTheGuerrilla
    30. 30. Getting a Job Get the right Perspective  Employers are Hiring  24.3M jobs filled from Sep „09 to Feb „10  2.6M jobs found no qualified applicant in Jan ‟09  Where do you search for what you need?  Outdated Newspaper Ads?  Online Stores where you pay to shop?  How about Google?
    31. 31. I‟m Googling For You When I Google, are you a result?  Simple Boolean Search:  “ inurl:in meteorology MW”  Someone on LinkedIn with experience in Meteorology and Wind Energy at the MegaWatt Scale
    32. 32. Be Curious “When Daniel Herr was trying to get a job… he didn‟t go banging on their door with his résumé…
    33. 33. “…He gently knocked, asking a few questionsabout them, just out of curiosity.“…He learned about their workresearching, designing and installingwind, solar and solar thermal systems.
    34. 34. “…Then, as people do in such conversations, they asked Herr about himself.”
    35. 35. Next Steps Get Informed  Read Renewable Energy World and Home Power Magazines Start Knocking on the Door  Network at an AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) Meeting or Conference  Get an Informational Interview with a developer
    36. 36. be.unconvention
    37. 37. seek.truth
    38. 38. climb.on
    39. 39. EL FIN…QUESTIONS?Daniel Herr@DanHerr