Student internships at a renewable energy organization can lead to long-term employment
by Ethan Paquet
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICAN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to testing, innovating, and advancing wind energy across Canada. Their research facility in North Cape is home to five wind turbines, a solar array, and a battery energy storage system.
“Our main streams of research are in asset management and grid integration,” says Marianne Rodgers, Scientific Director. “North Cape is extremely windy, and we have ocean exposure, hot summers, cold winters, and ice. This diversity allows us to be a leader of research in Canada.”
As wind farms age, owners may question whether it is worth investing to maintain or grow their assets. But most owners do not have the time, resources, or data to make informed decisions, she says. “We want to show how factors such as complex terrain, severe weather, cold climate, and delayed maintenance impacts the service life and performance of wind turbines.”
When more wind turbines and solar arrays are added to an electrical grid, new challenges may arise, she says. “The amount of wind and solar energy produced varies, and the generators responsible for maintaining these grids usually rely on fossil fuel, so it is important to produce renewable energy alternatives that can perform at the same level.”
Student internship opportunities
WEICAN currently employs 12 full-time staff and four interns. The internships allow them to support the future talent of the industry by providing hands-on experience, Marianne says.
“Students and interns working with us gain a wide range of experience that will help them to launch their careers in the renewable energy industry.
“For example, one student from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax worked a summer placement with us while completing her Bachelor of Science degree, and she published two research papers during her time with us.
“Another student who took Electrical Engineering at the University of Regina worked with us for one year, and immediately got a job after graduating.”
Students who take part in an internship also have the benefit of a place to stay while they complete their work term. “We have tried having our interns work remotely, but we found it’s best for them to be on site, so we have accommodations for them to stay at for free.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about the Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICAN), visit www.weican.ca/home