Winter PEG 2019

The Watch

The Watch



ENG STUDENTS BRIGHTEN UP RURAL PERU COMMUNITY Those of us in the fully developed world live in a digital era, one in which too much light—no matter what we do with our clocks twice a year—is more of an issue than too little. Elsewhere in the world, of course, off- the-beaten-track places exist where people live without basic electricity, let alone good Wi-Fi. Such is the case in rural Peru, where the mountains the Andes separate small villages from the nearest power lines, forcing people to live much of their lives in the dark. Thanks to a project conducted by students at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering, one such village, Hanchipacha, was recently able to switch on the lights for the first time. Led by Hamid Zareipour, P.Eng., PhD, an 11-student team travelled to the region and, over the course of three days, installed a solar power system that included a 325-watt solar panel, nine five-watt LED lights, four 220-volt AC outlets, and two 150-ampere-hour batteries. The team collaborated with a Calgary non-profit called Light Up The World, which strives to improve


Would Wexit actually benefit Alberta and the energy sector? Probably not, many international trade experts say, noting that it would become even harder for a new country out west to get Alberta oil to international markets. One of the movement’s founders has argued that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea would give Alberta coastal pipeline access, but experts say the convention still requires agreements between the countries involved. As well, an enforcement mechanism specifically for the convention has never been formalized.

Many Albertans—especially those in oil and gas—heaved a sigh of relief when Jason Kenney’s UCP took over leadership of the province in the spring, believing the shift right would improve the economy and control government spending. Their pessimism was renewed, however, by the federal re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the fall. In a province that didn’t send a single MP to the minority governing party in Ottawa, some of the more frustrated prairie citizens took to social media and called for radical action: the secession of Alberta (and perhaps two other western provinces) from Canada. A movement formed around the term Wexit, a play on United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, called Brexit.

- Joel Wong photo courtesy Schulich School of Engineering LET THE LIGHT TIMES BEGIN Team members pose with villagers in Peru, celebrating the installment of sustainable light sources.

communities by providing access to clean electricity. It also partnered with an organization that operates under the umbrella of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, called the Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology. Its focus is taking sustainable development technology to underserved communities. Today, the village has the power it needs to for town hall meetings, a community kitchen, bright study spaces for children, and much more.

42 | PEG WINTER 2019

WINTER 2019 PEG | 43

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