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The renewable energy visionary

David A. Janssen, BEng 98
July 4, 2022
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By Charlie Fidelman

David A. Janssen, BEng 98

When it comes to renewable energy, David A. Janssen is an authority. Janssen is project director at Pattern Energy Group, one of the world’s leading renewable-energy companies, with operating and development footprints in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

Beyond building power plants, Janssen is also on top of the storage and transmission aspects of renewable energy, including the development of new technologies to solve the problem of intermittent power.

"The wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t shine at night," Janssen points out. "Renewable-energy technology is advancing — we’ve come a long way but we’re not there yet."

Keys to success

“Building diverse teams of great people — problem solvers — who can handle the various aspects of our work. I focus on listening to them to understand exactly what they are trying to communicate.”

Milestone

“The Western Spirit wind project in New Mexico, U.S., totalling 1,050 megawatts. The most wind power ever constructed as a single phase in the Americas, it provides renewable energy to a million people. That’s comparable to a large coal or small nuclear plant. When I started in wind power, we built a couple of megawatts at a time.”

On the horizon

"Storage will be a game-changer. We’re researching new ways to store renewable energy."

Career satisfaction

"Knowing I’m delivering renewable energy and reducing pollution from fossil fuels. That’s what brought me into this industry and continues to motivate me."

The Concordia factor

"Concordia was very instrumental, especially the Co-op program. The mix of school and work provided hands-on experience in the industry, giving me a competitive edge."

Inspiring professor

"Claude Bédard [building studies] told me about the Co-op program in my first year. He was a great mentor, and I was proud and honoured that he presented me with my iron ring when I graduated."

Words of wisdom

"You’re going to fail. Learn from these opportunities and move to your next endeavour."

After work

"I coach, referee or officiate youth lacrosse most days, and also watch my daughters’ games. Coaching keeps me humble and grounded."



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