Julieta Giraldez is an electrical engineer at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado. She performs research and testing to advance renewable energy technologies, such a solar and wind power. "Discovering You: Engineering Your World" is produced by NBC News Learn in partnership with Chevron, the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Science Foundation.
Discovering You – Engineering Your World - Julieta Giraldez
JULIETA GIRALDEZ (Electrical Engineer):
We had seen that was a key part of the grid infrastructure that we talked about. I'm Julieta Giraldez and I'm an electrical engineer. I was born in Spain. I always liked math and physics, science in general. I grew up in a family where that was seen as cool. What really clicked in my mind, I think the "ah-ha moment," is when I was introduced to the power grid. When I learned that that was all one system, and that we're all interconnected, my house with yours, with the wind turbines, and that managing that is such a big thing, that's what gave me the ah-ha moment. That is, I think, a really incredible engineering product. The power grid is this infrastructure of wires cables, and transformers that brings generation to the customers. And so typically the generation is produced by, for example, a power plant or a wind farm that is far away from our houses. I think it's a big system that we take for granted. We don't even think about when we turn our light on or our dishwasher on. What else from the water heater can you control that typically is not controlled on a normal one? I work at the Power Systems Engineering Center at the National Renewable Energy Lab. It's a research organization that belongs to the Department of Energy. The mission is really to advance renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency technologies. And so it's really fun, because we do it covers the broad spectrum of basic science. Renewable energy, it's something that produces energy out of primary source that's renewable. And what that means is that it can continuously be replenished. And so if you compare it to oil, or carbon, those are finite resources that someday, we'll be out of them. But the wind will always be there, and the sun will always be there so they're renewable. I here we focus on testing a lot of the larger solar farms equipment. With wind or solar, we can't really control the resource, right? So there's the variability and then the uncertainty of, we don't know when the resource is going to blow or the sun may decide to come out or not. My work is to try to understand how to help the utility companies and the people managing the grid better integrate that variability and that uncertainty in managing the system. I think science is exciting too, but engineering is applying that science to things that we use in our society. It's amazing to be able to work with something that is actually impacting directly, the more sustainable world. Any questions on this?
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