October is Energy Awareness Month! To celebrate, we have interviewed some of our Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) and consultants to find out how they use their skills and expertise to #EMPOWER the energy sector.

Today, we are recognizing Samantha Eaves, Senior Marine Scientist at AST. Samantha is very knowledgeable and passionate about renewable energy. “I have an MS and a Ph.D. in marine science from The Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and my dissertation was actually focused on looking at bacteria and zooplankton interactions which are the tiny little animals that live in aquatic systems. This was a big transition to renewable energy, but I applied for the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program that’s operated through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), from there, you’re placed within an executive branch office in the government. After going through this interview process with multiple agencies, I was placed with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO). It was a dynamic opportunity to get my foot in the door. I was then awarded the opportunity to stay on as an EERE Science and Technology Policy Fellow, and then I joined AST as a contractor.”

Samantha currently serves as the Sub Activity Area Lead for the marine energy environmental research, and instrumentation development with WPTO. “A lot of the work I focus on is proactively addressing any environmental concerns that correlates to new marine energy developments. We are working on promoting the development and deployment of wave energy converters, tidal energy converters, and riverine energy. Since these are new technologies, the regulatory community is not familiar with them, which may lead to a more cautious approach with enhanced requirements for monitoring and mitigation. The DOE program extensively funds research to get ahead of some of these issues to determine if there are environmental impacts that we should be concerned about.”

Samantha is working on a number of environmental monitoring technology projects that will be deployed with wave energy converters that are currently in the water or will be in the coming months.  These deployments will collect vital information around actual conditions produced around the wave energy converters. Some monitoring technologies will be powered by the wave energy converters themselves, which will provide a proof of concept that we can use wave energy to power remote monitoring systems. These monitoring technologies will be able to see any changes in fish schooling around the devices, or if there are any marine mammals, sea turtles, or anything else that comes into contact with the devices, and just how marine animals respond in general to the presence of wave energy converters. Samantha says some big exciting things are coming up, and for her, that isthe high point of almost five years of work.

One of Samantha’s favorite aspects of her job is being involved in working with the researchers themselves and having an opportunity to see the cutting-edge research that’s happening. “One thing that I think is really neat, and it’s happening right now, is we’re in the process of strategic planning for the priorities for the next five to 10 years. We are finding out what are the needs of the marine energy community and what are the actions we can take to help address these needs. Right now, we’re in the process of identifying what the knowledge gaps are and what are the types of projects that we can be funding to help address these knowledge gaps.”

This is another great example of how #TeamAST is #empowering our customer and delivering successful missions to help #EMPOWER the environment through renewable energy.

#NationalEnergyAwarenessMonth #ASTEMPOWERS #TeamAST #AST #problemsolvers #clientmission #theASTway #renewableenergy #cleanenergy #greenenergy #energy #renewables #sustainability