Student Challenge Recipient: Jessica Bekker

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

We recently held a Student Challenge asking post-secondary students to submit 200-300 word blogs describing their interest in wind energy and its importance, and outlining how attendance at the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) Western Forum 2015 event would benefit them, their community or their campus.

The challenge winner is Jessica Bekker. Jessica is working on a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria. Jessica is a member of the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta and her goal is to return to her community to assist in the development of renewable energy generation and storage projects. Jessica is currently enjoying her two days at the Western Forum. Take a look below for the entry that won her free admission to the event:

My name is Jessica Bekker and I am completing my thesis on the impacts of hybrid off-grid power systems in remote communities in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Victoria. As a member of the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta, I have been inspired to pursue a technical engineering degree from our own wind power project that began in 2001 with the installation of the 900kW wind turbine, “Weather Dancer.” As a student this drove my educational pursuits in attaining an electrical engineering undergraduate degree and now in completing a master’s program developing an optimization model for renewable energy integration into a diesel power system with electric storage. While this modelling exercise accounts for all capital and operational costs and computes a levelized cost of electricity based on the community load and various financial parameters it unfortunately doesn’t include any socio-economic, political or cultural factors. It is my goal to return to my community and assist with developing energy projects, including a wind farm, hydro power and possible hydro storage, electric storage, and solar PV projects.

Attendance to this conference would provide networking opportunities with suppliers, project developers, and learning opportunities to hear about other successful projects in the Alberta market, and understand how these systems are designed to make the greatest economic impact for the surrounding communities. Last, I would like to have a greater understanding of the utility markets in Alberta and current policies that encourage wind power development and what utilities and government hope to see in the future to enhance wind power integration such as storage technologies or other ends. Please consider me as a recipient for the full delegate pass to attend the 2015 CanWEA Western Forum.

Thank you,
Jessica Bekker

Thank you to Brock John from Altagas for sponsoring Jessica!