You are hereCU spearheads sustainable energy
CU spearheads sustainable energy
CU’s University Memorial Center was full of energy last week as the CU Energy Club put on their third annual Energy Frontiers Conference.
The conference showcased some of the University’s top energy research competing for a $500 grand prize in the poster competition.
The poster competition was followed by a panel discussion titled “The Changing Landscape of Our Energy Future: What Does a Natural Gas Boom Mean for Renewables,” in which panelists included experts from the sustainable energy industry as well as government officials and researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory stationed in Golden.
CU Energy Club President Jeremy Halperin said the Energy Club and the Energy Frontiers Conference help provide students with unbiased information about the emerging and changing energy industry.
“As an energy club, we don’t take a stance on any one form of energy is better than the other. We think that’s the student’s choice to make,” said Halperin.
The Energy Frontiers conference comes at a time when energy in Boulder is at the forefront, and new sustainable energy practices are being put into place.
The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), who partners with the CU Energy Club, is studying the use of Toyota plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. 28 volunteer participants around Boulder are currently driving these cars for the study. RASEI is tracking the cars’ electricity use as well as the participants’ home energy consumption.
This is done by tracking how the plug-in vehicles interact with smart grid technology. Xcel Energy provides smart grid technology to Boulder, which is a way to computerize electric utility grids and control individual devices from a central location.
Boulder is one of the first cities in the world to have this technology put in place. According to graduate research assistant Wayne Tomac, this means that Boulder provides a unique opportunity to do a study with Xcel’s smart grid technology in place.
“As smart grid technology is starting to come online, obviously Boulder is one of the first cities to get this technology. And we see plug-in vehicles as starting to come to the forefront,” said Tomac.
Tomac says it’s unrealistic to think that every city will be on a smart grid in the near future. But the RASEI study aims to better inform the use of smart grid technology as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles.
According to Boulder County’s official website, the city understands that sustainability is a long-term goal that is necessary to balance environmental, economic, and societal needs.