The Climate Action Society (CAS) hosted a panel Wednesday night to discuss renewable energy. Speakers included Mechanical Engineering professor, Eric Loth, members from the UVA Solar Car Team, Ende Liow and David Philpott, and Electrical Engineering professor, John Bean. The goal of the event was to present an overview of how wind and solar technologies work in a way that even those without a technical background can understand.
Bean talked about the economics and physics of wind turbines, discussing the cost-benefit analysis of using this technology and in what situations it is most cost efficient. He also brought up the Board of Visitors’ goal to reduce emissions by 25% by 2025, a goal that cannot be met simply by switching from coal to natural gas.
Loth, designer of the Morphing Downwind-Aligned Rotor (MoDaR), discussed his invention that has the potential to revolutionize wind turbine technology. Loth is a firm believer that the world needs saving, and was glad to see the high student turnout at the panel.
“You have to have this holistic approach to energy solutions,” said Loth. “Economics and technology have to work together.”
Second year student and CAS member, Zoe Grippo, has been involved with the organization since she first arrived on grounds. Grippo says the response to this panel and other events held, like the Energy Town Hall last November, have been a mix of mostly support with some vocal critics.
“We decided to hold the panel as a way to raise awareness in the community on how renewable energy works as part of our renewables campaign,” said Grippo. “We feel that if more students were aware of the renewable energy projects already in our community, there would be more of a push towards the increased use of renewables.”
CAS has three main campaigns: no new fossil fuels, increased use of renewable energy, and divestment from fossil fuels. Their divestment campaign has already resulted in the addition of recently installed solar panels on the roof of Clemons Library in response to the Energy Town Hall.