This is part of a series of profiles for Engineers Week, Feb.16-22, 2020.
After earning a degree in mechanical engineering in 2007, Tim Remo focused his career ambitions on doing something “impactful.” So he began to build a resumé in the clean energy sector, working for solar cell manufacturers in Georgia and New Mexico and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, the latter in energy research and analysis. With each job change, he saw himself getting closer to the actual utilization of these cutting edge technologies he had a hand in developing.
Now as a member of OUC’s Emerging Technologies (ET) team, Remo has the opportunity to see the impact of his experience on an energy grid that serves 246,000 customers. Since joining OUC in December 2019, Remo has gotten his hands into a “little bit of everything” the ET unit is working on, including building a “nanogrid” and planning solar- and hydrogen-battery storage systems at OUC’s Gardenia facility.
Remo has been getting his hands into things since he was young, much to the exasperation of his parents. He developed his mechanical engineering skills at the expense of toasters and other small household appliances and electronics, taking them apart to see how they worked. He was pretty good at that, too. It was the putting them back together part that was more challenging.
“My parents probably knew I wanted to be an engineer before I did,” he says. “I tore a lot of things apart to see how they worked.”
While he’s not tearing things up anymore, Remo hasn’t lost his curiosity. In his new job, he’s part of a team of curious people who are trying to find the most affordable, efficient and reliable ways to deliver clean energy across the grid.
“Solar is currently the most cost effective renewable generation source we have in Florida,” he says. “We don’t have a lot of wind or geothermal resources like some of the Western states, so when we look at the emerging technologies available today, the Sunshine State is poised for continued growth in solar installations. But how do you utilize it?”
That’s a question Remo is trying to help answer as OUC strives to increase energy efficiency of current generation assets while deploying new renewable generation.
“Battery storage and hydrogen storage are potentially the most impactful emerging technologies coming online here at OUC. These storage technologies enable excess solar energy to be stored and distributed back to the grid when the sun’s not shining,” he says.
In his everyday life, Remo tries to be less impactful. On the environment, that is. He drives an electric vehicle and plans to install rooftop solar on his new home in Orlando. His Colorado home also was powered by solar.
“It’s exciting to be involved in reshaping the future of energy,” he says. “At OUC, there’s a ‘Let’s get it done’ kind of attitude. Working on many different emerging tech projects is daunting but looking at the big picture of how all these systems will come together is extremely rewarding and it’s also a lot of fun.”