Recently, NextEra Energy Resources provided financial support to the university’s Nevada Institute for Sustainability (NVIS). The donations provide the Institute with the opportunity to pursue new research and new programs to serve the growing sustainable energy industry in northern Nevada.
âThese donations will help with the implementation of the newly approved sustainability miner that has been designed and developed by NVIS,â said professor of chemical and materials engineering Dev Chidambaram, who is director of the institute. “The minor was developed based on student feedback and is consistent with our nation and the state of Nevada’s goal of becoming more sustainable in the use of energy and materials.”
To meet the challenge of developing sustainable energy production and distribution strategies, NVIS has created a multidisciplinary team of researchers and instructors. Together, they strive to generate new opportunities for research and education. In addition to providing a path to a greener future, NVIS is laying the groundwork for new economic development and workforce training.
“NVIS was launched as a virtual consortium of faculty with common interests and goals – assisting research, education and workforce training for the sustainable production and use of science. ‘energy and materials,’ explained Chidambaram. âThe institute offers the Renewable Energy Graduate Certificate Program, which is completely online. Recently, the NVIS team of Drs. Vasquez (associate professor in chemical and materials engineering) and Chidambaram developed the undergraduate minor in sustainability. Members of the Institute manage and deliver the Minor in Batteries and Energy Storage Technologies, the Nuclear Materials Emphasis Program, and the Minor in Renewable Energy. NVIS is funded by private donations and incremental fees.
NextEra is currently under construction on two projects in Washoe County. Fish Springs Ranch Solar is a 100 megawatt photovoltaic power plant with a 25 megawatt battery storage system, while Dodge Flat Solar is twice as powerful: a 200 megawatt photovoltaic power plant with 50 megawatts of battery storage. Both are expected to come on stream in December and provide NV Energy with solar power for residents and businesses in northern Nevada. In addition to providing the region with renewable energy, the facility represents another opportunity for college and university graduates to find employment working on innovative solutions to green energy challenges in northern Nevada.
âWe are excited to directly support NV Energy customers and help meet Nevada’s renewable goals. Working with the Institute provides an opportunity for collaborative research on renewable technologies, while stimulating economic diversification, âsaid Ryan Fitzpatrick, Director of Development, NextEra Energy Resources.
âDonations from NextEra Energy Resources really help achieve one of the Institute’s primary goals, which is to help develop a strong workforce for the sustainability energy and materials industries to. both for the region and the nation, âChidambaram said. âTo achieve this goal, the Institute offers online graduate certificate programs for working professionals and new programs for our current undergraduate students who wish to be a part of these growing industries.â
For Chidambaram, the development of new industries and research into sustainable energy go hand in hand: âA sustainable society will generate energy using carbon neutral sources and fully recycle and reuse all materials and minimize waste. NVIS, College of Engineering and UNR all have a common goal of advancing our company towards these goals. Support from private industry like NextEra is crucial to help this mission. “
Dean of Engineering College Manos Maragakis added, âThe Nevada Institute for Sustainability is essential to the future of our region. Through education and research, it will prepare the next generation of engineers to meet the energy challenges we face. We are grateful for NextEra’s support to our students and faculty.
To learn more about supporting the College of Engineering, contact Flynn Ginty.