Kevin Ummel '11 (USA)

Kevin Ummel
I was recently offered a position at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria, where I will join a team working on energy poverty and equity issues. This is one of many steps in my career path which ultimately results out of studying in the MESPOM program. The most challenging and rewarding part of my MESPOM experience (2009-2011) was the completion of my Masters thesis. The research I carried out at CEU and the University of Manchester under the supervision of MESPOM coordinator Aleh Cherp resulted in the development of new computing techniques to identify advantageous ways of combining wind and solar power technologies within power grids. After graduating, I took the techniques developed in my MESPOM thesis and applied them to a research project funded by the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. The project used computer simulations and high-resolution satellite data to identify cost-effective strategies for harnessing South Africa’s renewable power resources. The results were recently published as a UNU-WIDER working paper and have been submitted to the journal Applied Energy. The datasets generated as part of that project have also been used by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to model ways to integrate South African wind and solar power with untapped hydroelectric resources in the Zambezi Basin. Ultimately, the research undertaken while in MESPOM has evolved into something much larger and, I hope, impactful.