life at natural power

Kyle Sun

Renewable energy analyst

What does your day typically consist of? 

A typical day for me usually revolves around wind pre-construction analyses. Whether it is quality checking wind data, developing a long-term time series, extrapolating mast measured data to the desired hub height, modelling wakes or calculating/estimating losses, I’m usually working with the US Analytics team to deliver finance grade energy yield assessments for future wind projects. 


What do you enjoy most about your role? 

I really enjoy analysing the wind projects throughout the country and seeing the different aspects that influence the production and development of a wind farm, and the different technologies that are being considered. I love that my role allows me to see how the wind energy sector is continuously evolving. 


How did you get into the role in the first place? 

After graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Denver, I looked for opportunities that would help me get my foot in the door of the renewable energy industry. I began with several Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) at the United States Department of Energy research laboratories. Through these internships I learned about current areas of research within the renewable energy industry, which helped me to identify and solidify my passion for wind energy. I was also able to develop some familiarity and background with blockage models while at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). While I enjoyed my time in research, I wanted to be more involved in current developments and wind energy projects which led to me applying to Natural Power with the goal of helping to grow the wind and renewable energy industry as a whole. 


What is the most interesting type of work you have done and why? 

Other than getting to work on wind projects, I would say one of the most interesting types of work I have done is EchoSense® suitability analysis. EchoSense® is a new technology developed by Natural Power that detects whether bats are present before curtailing the turbines which can improve operational facilities of the wind farm. Without  EchoSense® technology, wind farms are typically required to apply blanket curtailment strategies during conditions where bat activity is likely to occur to avoid bat fatalities. With an EchoSense® suitability analysis, I work to help identify how much energy, and therefore revenue, a given wind farm can save with the implementation of the EchoSense® system. 


If you hadn’t chosen this career path, what would you be doing? 

I would like to think that even if I hadn’t chosen this particular career path I would still be involved in some area of the renewable or sustainable energy industry. I believe it’s important to help keep our planet “chugging along” and I want to be a part of helping it to do just that, with the aim of improving efficiency and reducing our reliance on non-renewable and non-sustainable technology.  


What’s your advice to anyone looking to go into a similar role? 

My advice for anyone looking to get into a similar role is to find opportunities that will allow you to build your skillset, even if the opportunity is not directly related to your field of interest. I was lucky enough to participate in several research internships that helped me gain the skills and the background that helped me land a position at Natural Power. You never know what areas you might really enjoy or skills you will develop that will help you transition into the area or role you are most excited or passionate about. 


What is your biggest achievement at work? 

I would say that my biggest achievement up to this point is being a part of various wind projects in 11 states during my first year at Natural Power. I am really proud to be a part of a great company that has analysed projects globally. Being in the early stages of my career, I have really enjoyed developing and learning from all the different areas of expertise of each of my Natural Power team members and look forward to increasing that number as we work to help push the development of renewable energy forward. 


Any hidden talents? 

I love to be active, especially by playing hockey. I started skating when I was three and have enjoyed it ever since. Although my body is a bit sore from years of hip and body checks, I still love to get outside and skate (when it is not too cold)! 


What is your favourite hobby? 

I love to get outdoors and go hiking. Being from Alaska, I’ve been really lucky to live in a place with amazing trails all over the place. When I have a chance, I really enjoy hiking up a mountain.