Badman, from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, is working toward a career designing and improving sustainable buildings. Seeing how New Zealand transitioned toward renewable energy was relevant to his aspirations, he said. So is the internship he landed with Private Energy Partners in Philadelphia, where he’ll conduct energy audits designed to help small businesses save on energy bills.
Materials science and engineering student, Emily Fucinato, from Syracuse, New York, is looking to study environmental law once she graduates in May. Learning how policy played a role in reshaping New Zealand’s energy sector most interested her.
She learned how New Zealand’s residents were first resistant to wind turbines, fearing a negative impact on wildlife, farming and the pristine landscape, but became swayed by the promise of jobs and safe, cheap and sustainable energy.
“People’s attitudes changed once they were installed,” Fucinato said. “They realized it was a good thing for the workforce and the general health of the economy there. It was interesting to see how their attitudes shifted.”
The class, and companion text “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World,” was a great primer for looking at New Zealand’s energy sector from a global perspective, Fucinato said.
She interns at the Penn State’s MorningStar Solar Home and said that solar energy was her first love. But she has a growing interest in other forms of renewable energy. She was thrilled to have the chance to touch the towering turbines and to spot nearby wind farms carved into the rolling New Zealand hills.
“It was cool taking in the view of a wind farm from a distance because you could see the entire landscape and you could see how the wind turbines fit into that landscape,” Fucinato said. “They don’t look like they stand out. They look like they’re part of the landscape.”