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“Germany has an excellent international reputation in renewable energies”Patricia Chaves, graduate of the Postgraduate Programme Renewable Energy (PPRE) in Oldenburg and PhD student in Wilhelmshaven

Patricia Chaves from Rio de Janeiro began her training as an engineer in Brazil and made a very conscious decision to specialize in renewable energies in Germany – by completing a postgraduate programme at the University of Oldenburg. Today she is a PhD student at the German Wind Energy Institute (DEWI) in Wilhelmshaven. She regards wind energy as an important future energy source also for Brazil.

Patricia Chaves discovered her passion for wind in Germany. Since November 2007 she has been examining how operators or investors can use modern portfolio theory to optimally synchronize a series of wind farms. This involves a comparative analysis of technological indicators such as turbine performance curves, natural factors such as wind parameters and of course also financial yields. Until November 2010 the industrial engineer at the German Wind Energy Institute (DEWI) will be able to devote all her time and energies to her doctoral thesis. Chaves’ research is being funded by the Reiner Lemoine Foundation, which promotes research and development cooperation in the field of renewable energies. “I’m grateful for the very good conditions here, because I’d like to cover the topic really thoroughly and still want to achieve so much.”

Tomorrow’s technologies

In point of fact, 33 year-old Patricia Chaves has already achieved a great deal. After graduating in industrial engineering in her home city of Rio de Janeiro she worked for the subsidiary of a German company in Rio and spent three years organizing environmental and grid connection permits for coal-fired power plants and natural gas installations. Very early on she began to consider how she could improve her professional qualifications and decided in favour of a postgraduate programme focusing on renewable energies. “Brazil will need more energy in the future and I’m very critical of our high dependence
– as much as 80% – on hydro power,” says the Brazilian. “Due to climate change we’ll need to raise the share of other renewables in our energy mix, for increasing water consumption will mean less is available for energy generation.” Chaves explains that Brazil’s installed wind power capacity is currently 430 megawatts, which in her view is just a fraction of what is possible: “Now’s the time to use this technology to help us prepare for the future.”

Postgraduate studies in Germany

She went looking for further training opportunities on the Web and soon found the Postgraduate Programme Renewable Energies (PPRE) in Oldenburg, an English-language master’s degree programme for graduates with professional experience from emerging economy and developing countries. She already knew Germany from a six-month study visit in Munich funded by the DAAD. “The PPRE was a perfect fit,” says Patricia Chaves with a smile as she thinks back. “Germany has an excellent international reputation in renewable energies and environmental technology. For me there could be nothing better than to study here.” With another DAAD scholarship in her pocket, Patricia Chaves moved in September 2005 from Rio de Janeiro, a metropolis with 13 million inhabitants, to Oldenburg, a city with a population of just 160,000. For 16 months she worked alongside graduates from all over the world, learning everything there is to know about producing power from solar heat, wind energy and biomass. Her very crowded timetable included laboratory work, studies, excursions and placements with research establishments and companies. In the second phase of the programme she then developed solutions targeted specifically at challenges in the Third World.

Studying and building bridges

It was during her master’s programme that Chaves discovered her passion for the universal energy resource, wind. After successfully completing the PPRE, she applied to do research work at DEWI. The Institute has a branch office in Brazil and has been supporting young researchers since its founding in 1990
– also with a view to developing its own network of experts. After completing her doctorate, Patricia Chaves sees a host of career opportunities in the field of wind farm management ranging from identifying suitable sites to connecting facilities to the grid. She could also imagine working as a consultant, however, advising banks and investors interested in developing wind power. She has delayed her return to Brazil for the time being. “There’s still so much I can learn here,” she says. Her dream would be one day to act as a “bridge”, supporting and organizing cooperation between Germans and Brazilians on wind energy projects.

Text: Dorit Amelang

"12 Worlds of Knowledge" is realized in cooperation with the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)


Last updated 03.05.2011

Patricia Chaves in ihrem Büro im Deutschen Windenergie-Institut in Wilhelmshaven

“Germany has an excellent international reputation in renewable energies”

Patricia Chaves, graduate of the Postgraduate Programme Renewable Energy (PPRE) in Oldenburg and PhD student in Wilhelmshaven

Patricia Chaves zu Gast bei dem aktuellen PPRE-Kurs, Universität Oldenburg

Information on windpower, on the Postgraduate Programme Renewable Energy (PPRE) and on the  German Wind Energy Institute (DEWI)

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