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Where would you want to work?

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Moonwick, May 25, 2017.

  1. Moonwick

    Moonwick Member

    Dec 4, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Last month I was laid off from my job of 9 years. I was doing general tech/ops work for an algorithmic trading company, and while I loved the company and the people I was working with, I didn't feel like the work I was doing had much benefit on society in general. It did pay well, however, and it gave me the means to buy a Volt, as well as the 85D that I thought buying the Volt would allow me to resist!

    I'd always loved the idea of electric transport, and in the past I had a dream of building a conversion someday. It became pretty clear to me though, after looking at others' experiences with their own conversions, that such a vehicle would always have been a "secondary" car. Even discounting the fact that a DIY vehicle will almost inevitably be less reliable and way more effort than buying "pure" EV, the inability to fast charge would have doomed any conversion I'd built to being mostly a short-distance car for running errands.

    Fast forward to now, and virtually all of the major auto manufacturers are starting to embrace EVs. Fast charging has gone from being a hard-to-find curiosity to, thanks to the work of Tesla, a practical way to drive purely on electricity from coast-to-coast. It's pretty clear that this movement is reaching critical mass, and now we need to start thinking about bigger problems that need to be solved in order to enable the massive shift to electric that's likely to happen in the decade to come. Batteries that can charge more quickly, power electronics that are more efficient, and how we'll balance an electric grid that will be taking on the load currently satisfied by petroleum (all while shifting from a "one-way" model where power originates at relatively few "reliable" generating plants to one where power comes from solar and wind).

    So, my question to you all is, which companies are doing the most interesting work in this area? EV tech, or grid-scale energy storage and real-time management of distributed renewable production. I'm based in Atlanta, but since I'm sure I'm not the only one on this forum who's thinking about this sort of career, I'd love to hear suggestions for companies anywhere and everywhere. We're all aware of the big fish in this pond (Tesla, etc.) but what about smaller companies that are also doing interesting, perhaps less glamorous work? Companies building cars that can do 0-60 in under 3 seconds get lots of headlines, but companies doing the boring (yet far more vital) job of figuring out how to keep the power grid beating at 60hz in spite of clouds, wind gusts, and constantly fluctuating demand from superchargers don't drum up nearly as much press.

    So, let's hear your suggestions. Bonus points if any of them are currently hiring. :D
  2. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    I actually just submitted my 2 week notice today. I've worked for URENCO, a provider of enrichment services for nuclear fuel as an operator for ~8 years. To be blunt my disgust with my co-workers over their personal choices finally wore me down. You can only work in an industry that promotes 'carbon free energy' as a primary advantage as its workforce commutes ~70+ miles everyday in vehicles that can't get 30mpg downhill for so long before the hypocrisy kills your morale. Worse is the fact that we all make good money. The AVERAGE here is >$100k! No excuses. I'm done.

    I really think the future is in demand response and storage. There are two areas that are going to need A LOT of work in the coming years. If you're a technical person go that route. If you're more of a people person we need A LOT of policy work. We need more lobbyists in state capitals working to push utility commissions and state reps to support rate structures that encourage load shifting, distributed generation and storage.

    My plan is to devote my time now to building a PV installation business in the Permian Basin... where despite abundant sun there are very few PV installs and no installers with competitive pricing.
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