Grant Johns

Manager, Energy Storage Engineering

 

What is your role at Saturn Power? Can you give me a brief overview of what your position entails?

 

I'm the Manager of Energy Storage Engineering, and I do engineering procurement construction (EPC) for energy storage projects as well as providing assistance on the solar side. 

 

What drew you to join Saturn Power initially? 

 

Being in the renewable energy industry for me was a large driving factor. I heard about the company culture, that was enticing, and that it's close to home. 

 

What's something you've learned in the last week, personal or professional?

 

I learned that New Jersey has a new energy storage goal of 600 MW by 2021 and 3 gigs by 2030, they have a new policy in place.

 

If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?

 

I like IPA's, generally any local IPA's are what I look for at the LCBO, but especially Omnipollo Zodiak or Nickel Brook Head Stock.

 

What was the first concert you attended?

 

SugarLand with my sister in grade eleven.

 

What's your favourite thing about the renewable energy sector?

 

Just making a difference - I love nature and the outdoors. Being able to leave the earth a better place than when we got here is my main goal, but we've got a lot of work to do. 

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Tyson Zehr

Senior Investment Analyst

 

What is your role at Saturn Power? Can you give me a brief overview of what your position entails?

 

My role is an Investment Analyst, and I’m on the Strategic Capital Team. The Strategic Capital team is responsible for three segments of the process cycle. Business developers will come to us with a project, they’ll ask for pricing, so I’ll run pro forma and review the assumptions, and provide feedback with a price. The second part would be after we win a project, the Strategic Capital Team must go out and raise the capital for that asset. At that stage, I look up investor contact details and develop investor materials (preliminary information memorandums and presentations), and then the third area I work in is project acquisitions, including sensitivity analysis and contacting developers to see if there is interest in selling off their project.

 

 

What incentivized you to stay on with Saturn Power following your co-op term?

 

First thing would be the culture here and the people, I had a really good experience, they gave me a lot of opportunities and the company is so close to home. When I was at Ivey, they really engrained in us to find an industry that is a “wave”. You want to catch a wave in its early stages and ride it. I saw energy storage as an opportunity to become an expert in an area that there are not many experts in.

 

As an Investment Analyst, what trends do you see?

 

We’ve hit a tipping point where we’re at price parity with the other energy sources. Battery prices are coming down rapidly and we’re seeing a lot more RFP’s that have battery storage paired with solar. Having developed the largest battery in Canada, there’s a huge opportunity for us there. Also, investors are becoming more comfortable with renewable energy and offering better terms. Lastly, we’re seeing new programs popping up across North America in an effort to incentivize renewable energy projects.   

 

 

What is the best part of your role? The most difficult?

 

The best part is also the most difficult. I enjoy when we are very busy, working in a competitive environment with tight deadlines. This can be very difficult, however that’s really where I get my best work done. I believe it fosters personal growth and a strong team environment. I think our ability to process RFP’s and submit proposals on tight deadlines is a testament to the working relationship we have at Saturn Power.

 

Best vacation you’ve been on?

 

I went to Italy and Greece in Grade 12 for a month, and it was amazing. It was my first time to Europe. I saw Rome, Florence, Crete and Athens, just an amazing trip and got to enjoy the architecture and the history of two amazing countries.

 

 

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

 

Dusting. Growing up, laundry and dusting, those were my chores, and I’m allergic to dust. Dusting, when you’re allergic to dust, isn’t fun.

 

Last meal?

 

Steak, twice baked potato with cheese and bacon, asparagus and a lobster tail on the side for sure.

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Julia Kossowski

Director, Solar Development

     

What is your role at Saturn Power? How long have you been with the corporation and can you give me a brief overview of what your role entails?

 

I’ve been with Saturn Power for two years but provided engineering consulting services to Doug and Ray in my former role for over five years. My title is Director of Solar Development, and I’m responsible for managing the development team for utility-scale solar projects through greenfield development, project acquisitions, and RFP bids for our North American and Caribbean projects.

 

What does a typical day as the Director of Solar Development look like for you?

 

Every day is a bit different – but definitely lots of meetings. Daily, I’m checking in with our solar developers on their greenfield development progress and addressing obstacles that they’re encountering, improving processes and communication. In parallel, I’m responding to market trends and assessing frequent acquisition and RFP opportunities and deciding which ones to pursue. My position entails rallying the team to prepare offers, in addition to communicating progress to the executive team and identifying risks. Where there’s time, I try to look ahead to plan our future strategic development goals.

 

 

What was the driving factor for you to join Saturn Power?

 

As a small, privately-owned company, I find we’re able to jump into new business opportunities very quickly. As a team we can assess these opportunities and explore new markets. The renewable energy sector is changing so rapidly and it’s nice to be with a team that can keep up with it. There’s a lot of learning on the job as we explore those new trends. Because Saturn Power has in-house specialists for every phase of solar project development (land agents, engineers, legal counsel, developers, accountants, and financiers) we have a tight knit team that supports the entire project lifecycle.  Our departments inter-connectedly work well together, we can successfully take on new and exciting projects. It’s great being a part of a world class renewable energy developer and operator in the Waterloo Region.

 

What would you say is your greatest highlight from your time working at the Saturn? Is there a specific project you’ve worked on that you found the most successful, and what was your role?

 

There have been lots of exciting successes over the past few years.  I might say one of the highlights would be submitting the successful bid for the 2017 SaskPower 10MW Solar RFP.  Saskatchewan is an important market for us, and it was a very competitive bid process – we were thrilled to be selected.  We are currently developing that project.

 

Outside of work, what do you love to do with your time?

 

As a mom of two kids, I’m kept busy so finding sleep wherever I can, is a plus. I also enjoy playing volleyball, I love being in the outdoors. I’m a big yoga enthusiast.

 

Ten years down the road, what role do you see renewable energy projects and practices having on our society?

 

We’re at an exciting tipping point for renewables, they’re already at parity with other traditional sources of electricity in parts of North America. In 10 years, I can see that being the case across the continent and that means we’ll have clean, sustainable sources of energy that no longer rely on fossil fuels. I think the shift is going to continue to support the integration of electrical vehicles, as well as exciting large infrastructure projects (light rail transit, for example), and overall a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable society.  I feel very privileged to be a small part of that evolution.

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In concert with their efforts to help create a sustainable environment for future generations through the advancement of clean energy, employees and management at Saturn Power spent the afternoon of Thursday April 25 doing their part to keep the community clean in honor of Earth Week.

 

Saturn Power, a developer of clean, renewable energy projects that is headquartered in Baden, Ontario sent a team out to clean up debris and litter from the area surrounding the on/off ramps near HWY 7/8 and Foundry Rd in Baden/Wilmot Township. Another dedicated team participated in the cleanup around Saturn’s Baden headquarters at 140 Foundry Rd, including the area adjacent to the Baden Pond.

 

 

The team ended up filling over two dozen large garbage bags full of litter, removing harmful waste from the environment while beautifying the local community they are proud to call home. Saturn Power would like to also provide a special thank you to Provincial Waste Systems of Elmira, Ontario for generously agreeing to pick up the large load of garbage from our office, without charge.

 

“We at Saturn Power recognize the importance of building a sustainable planet through the minimizing of waste and consumption efforts, in concert with the work we are doing to develop, build and operate clean, renewable energy projects across the globe.” said Ray Roth, Chief Operating Officer of Saturn Power.  “As a company, and as a team, our goal is to help contribute to a more sustainable world for future generations and we will continue to strive, every day, to do better”.

 

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