RDC's Alternative Energy Lab opens

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
October 21, 2018 - 11:52am Updated: October 22, 2018 - 8:40am

Fossil fuels may be our bread and butter, but if you ask the folks involved with renewable and alternative energy initiatives at Red Deer College, that reality is swiftly changing.

On Saturday, RDC hosted the first ever Renewable Energy Fair along with tours of the brand new and recently opened Alternative Energy Lab.

Joel Gingrich, Dean of Trades and Technologies, says the lab will offer skill development for people who are just getting into their field, but also those who are already full-time contractors.

“There are businesses that currently operate that have interest in diversifying their business into alternative energies and we want to help them understand and build skills in those areas,” he says.

“We also have a research objective, not only to share what’s currently known, but to explore new areas. So if innovators or companies have ideas they’d like to test, this is the kind of place we’d be able to do that kind of work.”

The solar modules on the lab’s roof are part of a larger system at RDC which the college can boast as the largest at any post-secondary institution in Canada.

It will host more than 1000 students primarily from the electrician, plumbing and carpentry apprenticeships, as well as the engineering technology diploma program.

Rene Michalak with ReThink Red Deer, which was behind the Renewable Energy Fair, says the world is evolving and consumers must evolve with it.

"Our community is coming into the renewable energy revolution with a bit of baggage in terms of being heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry,” he says.

“The leadership shown here at the college is key in that. As the community gets more familar with it, it will be easier to understand and participate in as a consumer of energy and electricity.”

Approximately 15 companies took part in the inaugural event.

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