Energy Fellows tackle renewables, efficiency, green building design in year-long internships

Savannah Harik and Max Bliss
Savannah Harik and Max Bliss

Max Bliss is worried that many developing nations have become so dependent on a small number of other countries for their energy needs that they could be exploited or controlled. It’s an issue he wants to address once he graduates from the University of Rhode Island in 2019.

“Energy is extremely important; nothing can operate without it,” said Bliss, a rising junior majoring in civil engineering and Spanish. “For developing countries, my vision is to bring renewables to increase their energy independence.”

The first step toward his goal was becoming a URI Energy Fellow, which has enabled him to spend a year working for Wind Energy Development, a North Kingstown-based company that partners with private landowners to build wind turbines, including at sites in Coventry, North Kingstown and Portsmouth.

“It’s been a really good introduction to the wind industry,” Bliss said. “I’m learning so much every day about the industry and how these systems work and how they can be better designed and better built. It has cemented in me that the energy industry is where I want to end up.”

A resident of Portsmouth, Bliss spends his days assessing potential wind and solar energy sites to determine how much energy could be produced, how nearby shading might affect solar panels, how turbine sounds might affect residents, and other factors that could affect a potential installation.

Bliss is one of eight Energy Fellows working at companies, government agencies and other organizations on a wide variety of energy issues, from renewables and energy efficiency to green building design and energy education. Established in 2007, the program meets the growing need for experiential learning opportunities for students interested in addressing real-world energy issues from a sustainability or efficiency perspective…[Read more]