More funding for renewable energy program
The renewable energy program at the University of Nevada, Reno has been backed by NV Energy since its inception in 2007, and with the recent pledge of $450,000, the funding given to this program by the utility company will total $2 million.
This pledge will be given to the university over the course of three years.
Currently, the university has a minor program with two separate tracks—one for engineering majors and one for others—and a graduate certificate program available via the Renewable Energy Center.
“We are going to continue growing and strengthening,” said College of Engineering Dean Manos Margakis. “We have a minor which we are going to continue and add courses to that. We hired a new director for the Renewable Energy Center using some of the funds from NV Energy to attract this gentleman. We’re going to expand the center to include the placement of state of the art equipment for students to work with and attract companies to work with us. We’re going to be very much outreaching to industry.”
NV Energy worked together with the university to create this program six years ago because they believed there needed to be more education about this type of energy.
“Back in 2007, NV Energy and the University of Nevada, Reno decided to collaborate on [the renewable energy] program,” said vice president for external affairs Mary Simmons. “Part of that was because of the need that we both saw from an interest in students in renewable energy and the fact that Nevada really was poised to be a leader in renewable energy and there wasn’t a program related to that, per se, at the university. And we thought that it was overall important for the state and the university to be involved in renewable energy.”
NV Energy has also supported other renewable energy educational programs in this state, including one at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, some projects at Truckee Meadows Community College and also the GreenPower program with Desert Research Institute, which goes to kindergarten through 12th grade schools in the state to teach about renewable energy.
Part of the reason behind NV Energy’s continued interest in promoting the university’s program also came from a need that NV Energy has for more renewable energy.
“We saw the importance of renewable energy as part of our portfolio going forward,” Simmons said. “NV Energy is required to provide, by 2025, at least 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, so we saw how important it was going to be and that there was going to be a continuous need for developing renewable energy and having people who were trained in that area.”
Simmons also said that NV Energy has gotten many great employees from the university. “Some in the engineering area, but also in finance and some other areas. … In order to help attract students and keep them interested in the areas that were important to us and to the state, we think that this program is really beneficial.”