Roseville, Calif – More than 25 local students from Sierra College have now gained invaluable hands-on training for jobs in the fast growing field of renewable energy, thanks to the Energy 2001 Renewable Energy Center–a first of its kind partnership between Sierra College, the Western Placer Waste Management Authority (WPWMA), and local green power producer Energy 2001.
“After 20 years in sheet metal fabrication, in 2014 I found myself in need of new skills and a new career,” said 2015 program graduate Neal Hayes. “Today, because of the training I gained at Sierra College and the hands on experience I received at the Energy 2001 Renewable Energy Center, I am a NABCEP Certified Energy Installer and employed as a Project Superintendent for a Bay Area Solar company.”
“This unique public/private partnership is a classic example of how business, government, and Sierra College work together to benefit our communities, the local economy, and students,” said Sierra College President William Duncan. “By giving these students hands on ‘real world’ experience they become valuable in-demand employees as they enter the labor market.”
Launched by in 2015, the Energy 2001’s Renewable Energy Center has enabled students from Sierra College’s Energy Technology Program to spend a semester constructing ground-mounted commercial solar arrays adjacent to the Energy 2001 Landfill Gas Power Plant that is housed at the WPWMA’s Western Regional Sanitary Landfill (WRSL). The project has become part of Sierra College’s Advanced Solar Class, taught by energy Professor Steve Geiger.
Constructed with in-kind assistance from Placer County based Brower Mechanical and SMR Inc., the new arrays are being used to help power WPWMA’s Blower Flare Station (BFS)–a system which collects landfill gases and supplies them to engines that convert these gases into electricity at Energy 2001’s 5MW Power Plant. By helping to power its BFS from the student-constructed solar arrays, WPWMA will be saving $.04 per kWh over what it would otherwise be paying PG&E-savings that are ultimately passed along to landfill ratepayers.
“In meeting the WPWMA’s responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, we are producing a growing supply of renewable energy at no additional cost to our ratepayers while helping Sierra College students access the training they need to win the good paying jobs of tomorrow,” said Placer County District 1 Supervisor and WPWMA Board member Jack Duran. “This Renewable Energy Center is a model public-private partnership that I hope other communities will seek to emulate.”
Energy 2001, which organized the partnership and underwrites the cost of all materials and land for use by Sierra College students, has been operating power generation facilities at the WRSL since 2004. Through its landfill gas (converting the gases from decomposing garbage into energy) power plant, it annually produces enough electricity from to power over 3,000 homes and businesses, and remits a portion of its revenue from power sales back to WPWMA.
“To unlock the economic and environmental potential of our growing need for renewable energy, it is critical to invest in training the workforce that is powering this transformation,” said Energy 2001 President Laura Rasmussen. “That’s what this partnership is all about, and we are committed to helping as many students as possible access the training and support they need to succeed in our industry.
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