Harnessing the power of research and education
There are other unique aspects to the project. Sustainability may be the driver of the solar farm, but there are few other passengers enjoying the ride, namely, research and education. Sam Ferraz is the program coordinator with Future Energy Systems (FES) at the University of Alberta. FES is essentially a research program launched in 2016, with $75 million from the Government of Canada’s Canada First Research Excellence fund, focusing on multi-disciplinary research into current and future energy technologies and their consequences for society, the economy and the environment. With 121 research projects, almost 1,000 grad students, over 150 researchers, and over 4,000 research outputs, let’s just say it’s a rather large program.
Ferraz is originally from Venezuela, but after studying there and in France, he came to the University of Alberta specifically to work with FES. “Working in academia and having the opportunity to liaise with several students and researchers and industry all with the same goal of working towards a net zero carbon economy, I mean, it virtually speaks for itself!” says Ferraz.
“There are so many ways researchers can connect with industry because industry usually wants researchers to look at and to find solutions for their real-world problems. Of course, there must be interest on the researcher's side to look into those specific questions.”