Archive for the ‘Green Jobs’ Category

S.E.E.C. Home | Tiny Houses

Right. I spent the last of my savings to attend graduate school overseas in 2005-2010–never fathoming I’d ever have this much difficulty getting work.  At the time, MSc/Graduate programs in renewable energy engineering and sustainable development were remiss in the USA.  Only to find on my return in 2010, my skills were ahead of the curve, due to lack of adequate energy policy being in place–this is still the case today, and relegating me to the margins. It has become abundantly clear, I am on my own.

However, those I have sought out for assistance to offer solutions to fix my and others housing and employment consternation don’t seem genuinely concerned to fix this matter. Sadly, Oakland, CA is on a trajectory to become another Detroit, MI and Baltimore, MD.

Currently there are ~6,200+ homeless or ~83,000 under-housed/or who can easily become under-housed people in Oakland, CA. Reference: East Oakland Community Project  There is a solution to homelessness–Tiny Houses, a movement I have been following for just over five years now. A few weeks ago, I put this presentation together for a Thin Film Solar Hackathon I entered, I call S.E.E.C. Home.

Aside: I don’t feel like fashioning well-composed paragraphs, so I hope you can indulge my litany of bulleted offerings that follow.

Tiny houses are:

  • Recognized under the auspice of an RV home
  • Affordable. Scalable. Have a lower environmental and natural resources footprint
  • A Tumbleweed House costs: 
    • ~$66K built [top end]
    • ~$29K DIY materials
    • $502/mo for house payment
    • 15 year loan $575/mo
    • A lot faster to build (7-10 weeks) than a high-density, high-rise structure
    • keep down costs using repurposed materials, further reducing the waste stream to landfill
    • Use RESTs (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal) to provide for cleaner electricity production and complementing water resource management
    • Reduce reliance on municipal services
    • Promote employment
    • Combat blight, making a community more livable
    • Support and improve the quality of life of the demographic that is challenged, in decline and making an exodus due to unaffordable rents, but who will now have longer commutes adding to GHG emissions
    • Make Oakland truly greener, progressive, world-class leader
    • and if complemented with urban agriculture, has many benefits.
  • Rent/month in Oakland is ~2-4 times more than rent for a Tiny House! Reference
  • COST OF NOT DOING THIS in Oakland 
    • Oakland 55.70 square miles [2010]
    • Persons/square mile [2010] – 7004
    • Persons/square mile below poverty level – 1,495
    • 1,436 persons x $66,000 = $98,670,000 ~=$98.7 mil
  • Cost to the city to manage plight, blight. Difficult to know for Oakland, CA proper, but what follows are some statistics from other cities:
    • In 2005, Salt Lake City, UT – providing the homeless homes for individuals composed only 14% percent of the state’s total homeless population, and consuming the majority of agencies’ scarce resources. Reference.
    • City spent $20 million a year on this program
    • In UT, a homeless person relying on shelters and soup kitchens:
      • cost the community $19,200
      • whereas, expenses of permanent housing and case management run just $7,800
      • increase the price of law enforcement and medical expenses, which is astounding
      • EXAMPLE ONE: One chronically homeless individual in Salt Lake City racked up:
        •  $563,000 in emergency room charges in 2010
        •  another had hospital bills that almost topped $1 million over three years
      • it’s half the cost of that person receiving services in a shelter if they are placed in housing
      • it’s not only giving them security, but
      • more people can be assisted, helped.
      • EXAMPLE TWO: In 2004, SF estimated that each chronically homeless person costs taxpayers:
        • $61,000 a year,
        • $16,000 it costs to put one person into supportive housing
    • The common denominators to make this work are:
      • creating better housing
      • making sure there’s enough counseling
      • getting all parties to cooperate
      • Reference

Oakland, CA has an opportunity to solve its housing crisis AND promote pilot a model that could work for many urban communities. This is an everyday brilliance for disaster resilience schema, an affordable, agile, adaptable, resilient solution to:

  • homelessness
  • improving Oakland’s status to implement sustainable, greener, cleaner quality of life offerings that will reduce stress on municipal services

AND

  • if coupled with urban agriculture, can also provide opportunities to increase the tax base

However, Oakland needs a high-tech champion to step up on this. But I heard yesterday from an Oakland City Council employee, private developers are no longer interested in coming to Oakland now, because:

  • it now costs the same to do business in Oakland as it does in SF, CA.
  • Google is no longer interested in taking over the Sears building on 20th and Broadway, mainly because of the #uprisings.
  • Aside: Clorox is also leaving Oakland, as are other companies.

Said another way, the tax base is leaving. And so, Oakland, CA is on a trajectory to become another Detroit, MI and/or (my beloved) Baltimore, Murderland.

The city can pay/invest now, or pay HELLA more later. If there was ever a schema to adhere to PREPARE. RESPOND. ADAPT. it’s this. But is anyone listening?

REST in Urban Agriculture

As the ‘indifference’ of Mother Nature, er climate instability continues intensifying, and when the price of petrol gets prohibitively expensive for foodstuffs to make their way to the markets, folks will be wishing for an achievable, sustainability developed schema like REST in Urban Agriculture  that includes:

  • hybrid renewable energy systems technology [HREST] for energy generation and capturing moisture from the air via atmospheric water generation
  • water resource management
  • waste management
  • affordable housing
  • access to fresh produce
  • employment opportunities
  • the 5 R’s – resiliency, redundancy, robustness, reliability, repair

PREPARE. RESPOND. ADAPT.

Plan F :: I lament — Wondering if and when the Hybrid Renewable Energy Engineer job description will become a norm…

Some wonder why I persist in having such a difficult time landing work as a hybrid renewable energy engineer. Perhaps if I were of the business developer, marketing, sales or policy ilk, I’d have more work than I knew what to do with. But I am an R&D anomaly and not readily embraced. So, I need to continue to try to be patient to let people catch up.

One of my colleagues/mentors, the notable, internationally recognized renewable energy sage Paul Gipe shared the following affirmation with me several weeks ago about my attempt to heighten awareness about why community wind is needed at the LCEA Clean Power, Healthy Communities Conference in Oakland, CA. My presentation is here, but sadly, there was only a single party interested in my offering during the conference. Paul emailed me the following after the conference:

Subject: hang in there/you did good

Date: October 18, 2013 7:03:09 AM PDT

To: Kimberly King <kimgerly@kimgerly.com>

hang in there kimberly. you did the right thing by coming out and making a presentation before the “solar only” crowd. it needed to be done, needs to be done, and needs to be done again and again–americans are slow learners.

but of course part of the problem is that we don’t have any policies that make it possible–and until we do we’ll just be working at the margins. . .

paul

Yes, I have been on the margins since I embarked on this reinvention to become a hybrid renewable energy engineer back in 2001. And back then, I knew distributed generation would eventually become the order of the day. Thanks to SB 43 there is a smidgen of traction, but it’s still no slam dunk. Not to mention, I have touted distributed energy in the Interests section of my LinkedIn profile when I first launched my profile back in 2005http://www.linkedin.com/in/kimgerly

To obtain a challenging position developing hybrid renewable energy systems using sustainable development practices. Research and engineer hybrid renewable energy power micro-grid/nano-grid systems. Research mitigating noise generated by small wind turbines in the built environment. Make contributions developing hybrid renewable distributed energy power systems toward the development of renewable energy as part of the World Wide Energy Web. Engineer renewable energy efficiency designs.

It was because of my time holding leadership roles, developing solutions to problems in unknown territory, my capabilities as a Jill-of-all-trades generalist during the dot-com in IT/Systems Engineering/Administration, that Silver Spring Networks | UH-HNEI | DoE SunShot Initiative SmartGrid PV Inverter Project picked me up last year for a short-term, six month contract as a technical writer. One of the big reasons I was selected was due to my load flow analysis embedding ten wind turbine generators on an existing electrical distribution network paper as a part of my post-graduate degree. Mind you, this SunShot Initiative project is the cornerstone, benchmark communications protocol project for the USA for embedding a high-penetration of residential PV inverters on existing electrical distribution networks. This pilot’s aims are to discern how well the bi-directional flow of electrons from renewable energy generators can be managed by a utility. Most of the people I worked with on this project are ex-Cisco engineers, and found me to be a natural for this job. The reference letter from my supervisor is viewable here.

I was also in the queue for consideration under the Fraunhofer Institute/Sandia National Labs Micro-grid/Nano-grid project collaboration that was tabled indefinitely late last year. Thank you gov’t shutdown. *Sigh* And just a couple of months ago, I was in the queue to work on Chevron Energy Solutions/Chevron Renewable Power Division as a Investment Structuring Analyst/Associate for PV and geothermal plants, but these projects were placed on hold indefinitely as a result of the government shutdown.

Unfortunately, as time progresses, I feel more and more like hedged my bets incorrectly–thinking by now the renewable energy industry would have adopted the mindset that was pervasive during the dot-com to seek agile, adaptable engineers who are agitators, and who can wear more than one hat to get a job completed. Instead, this myopic vision I have come to witness over the past eight years seems to be the order of the day. This is out of my control. And so, I continue to be relegated to the margins/fringes. I am all for contingency planning. Sure always having a Plan B or Plan C makes sense, but I NEVER fathomed I’d need a Plan F. Let’s see how this all came about…

Plan AStarting in 2001, I volunteered at the Resource Renewable Institute, to learn more about this operatives renewable energy and sustainable development. I also performed due diligence for The Rahus Institute on why more PV systems were not being installed on K-12 schools in California. From 2004-2010, pursued academic coursework at a veritable plethora of universities in the USA, The Netherlands and the UK. I also completed PV Design and Installation coursework with Solar Energy International and at Diablo Valley College. For a year, I helped design and install solar PV systems on residences.  Eventually completed a post-graduate degree in renewable energy systems technology engineering in 2010 at the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST) a part of Loughborough Technical University in the Midlands of the UK.

Plan BDue to the tumultuous, global financial climate in 2008, started having to fall back on my technical writing, computer science skills set–just like a number of my seasoned, professional CREST classmates had to do. Made the short list a number of times for a number of jobs–I lost count awhile ago. Chemistry. However, it’s an employers’ market and one has to meet 100% of the job description ‘check-box’ criteria, and getting past the HR ‘gate keepers’ these past few years has been inordinately challenging.

Plan C Started falling back on my chef skills as an Eco-chef; swapping my services for short-term housing, if pay was an issue.

Plan DDog sitting, House sitting to make trickle-in survival income while waiting for contractual engineering work to be finalized. These contracts never materialized.

Plan EJoined the SF Local 16 to obtain part-time freelance work in audio and visual realm, in an effort to get off the ‘food stamp diet.’

Plan F – My present aim is to secure a certificate in Industrial Maintenance [welding, machining, hydraulics] at Laney College, because our first world nation with a third world infrastructure is going to break HARD, and it will require having more talent who not only knows how to design, but also knows how to fix and tune, on-the-fly in the field.

I have some appointments coming up in December to chat with a CPUC [California Public Utilities Commissioner] to discuss why there persists in being consternation with supplier diversity issues. Also, more recently, a finance director at Chevron Energy Solutions has expressed some interest in hearing my ideas on how Chevron might participate in SB 43.

I am no Nikola Tesla, but I certainly have a great deal of empathy for the man, his vision and all the ‘brick walls’ he had to traverse to even get his ideas and designs embraced. Sadly, he was impoverished and in debt when he passed away. Alas…

To quote Randy Pausch,

Don’t ball. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap.

I sure hope so, because I’m borderline vanquished.

PREPARE. RESPOND. ADAPT.

Career advice: 12 professionals explain how to make it in energy

This deserves a repost. Career advice: 12 professionals explain how to make it in energy 

My favorite quote was

A wise man once told me engineering tells us what we can do, economics tell us what we should do, and politics tells us what will be done. — Robert Frank, Senior Consultant, McHale Performance

And altho this quote does not come from the aforementioned read, it’s one of my all time favorites…

 Don’t bail. The best of the gold is at the bottom of the barrels of crap. Randy Pausch

No on 23 :: Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition

No on Proposition 23

The No on Prop 23 proponents released a documentary today to lead the non-partisan charge to defeat Proposition 23. This initiative is not about California’s environmental health, energy security or financial future–it’s about these oil companies’ bottom lines.

Indeed, even colleagues of mine in the EU acknowledge how important an opportunity this is is for the citizenry of California to demonstrate the need to move forward on a cleaner, renewable energy future. These colleagues also realize the far-reaching impacts on what will transpire in the outcome, as well.

I agree with one of my European colleagues and don’t think any electorate anywhere has ever been given such a clear chance to vote for a cleaner world or to go on polluting. Indeed, no law is ever perfect and no government efficient; it is, after all, the principle is what is at stake here. I think this is again, a seminal moment for Californians–we can stand up to the challenges of clean(er)tech or fall back to the easy, trodden-path way of business-as-usual (BAU). I think a democratic vote that says NO to pollution will have enormously positive reverberations around the world and rout these oil companies that it is time for renewable energy to lead the way. Yes, we need to win the principle; afterward we can fix the details.

Know someone who isn’t convinced that Prop23 is a bad idea. Show them this 14 minute 03 second long documentary: http://bit.ly/ahfblp !

Trained to Fail == Training for Green Jobs Is Pointless When There Are No Green Jobs

Trained to Fail.

Yup, in spite of my vision back in 2005/06 to start GO!, before we even heard the concept ‘green jobs’, ironically I also have fallen into this most untimely vortex. Promises. Promises…

I also raised a number of logistical issues to the group that created the Green Employer Council, as well as to the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) commissioners back in early 2006 when I was still in Oakland. Sadly, according to this article, my concerns were not addressed and my foresight dismissed. And now look.

Turns out a number of my seasoned, highly-trained classmates with umpteen transferable skills sets are also duly challenged, and are either now staying in school pursuing PhDs, or resorting to taking work in their former industries in order to survive. Employers only have bandwidth for folks having 3-5-10 years of specific RE-related career experience (of which I do not seem to have enough experience, yet) in business development, project management, R&D, etc. in this tumultuous financial climate. As I understand it, this is just a typical hiring practice during an economic recession-depression.

Still working on how to get my dream, hybrid RE engineering job in a burgeoning industry when my job description STILL does not exist. My colleagues and I persist in submitting proposals, work scopes and networking to procure contractual arrangements for providing services, but everyone’s pretty much solicitous these days.

I don’t like whining about this, either. So yeah, I’m reinventing myself, yet again, and working on building my own entrepreneurial empire…

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What is a Hybrid RE Engineer?

An engineering generalist with an understanding of sustainable development whose skills set are typically comprised of an amalgam of mechanical and electrical engineering. One who is able to design and assemble systems and components that are comprised of more than one renewable energy (RE) technology i.e. solar, wind, hydro-kinetic (ocean/wave/micro-hydro), biomass, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal and storage (battery, fly wheel, pumped-hydro). The RE technologies selected depend on one's geographical predisposition, resource availability, the end-use need, practicing conservation (behavioral change) to name a few considerations...

Content © 2009-2017 by Kimberly King