media release

REM student finds new wind-farm efficiencies

June 09, 2014

Ben Cross, 604.440.6505, 
Dixon Tam, SFU media relations, 778.782.8742,


Hiking in pristine locales is not just a hobby for North Vancouver’s Ben Cross. It’s his way of reinforcing his passion for climate research and unearthing ways to utilize sustainable energy resources.

Cross, who graduates with a master’s degree in resource and environmental management (MRM) this month, has produced a novel research paper on wind-farm locations in B.C.

The research, which Cross undertook for BC Hydro in addition to an eight-month co-op internship there, found that certain areas in B.C., such as the North Coast and the northern tip of Vancouver Island, experience much stronger winds during drought years.

Wind farms in these areas produce more electricity in dry years when hydropower reservoirs have less water and energy is more valuable, compared to other sites that produce more electricity during wet years.

Cross’ thesis supervisor, Karen Kohfeld, says the research is unique and relevant since it links B.C. weather patterns in wet and dry years to electricity generation.

“It is an aspect of climate research that has not been looked at in this way previously,” says Kohfeld, an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Climate Resources and Global Change.

Cross’s previous work was in the field of agrometeorology, using weather data to help determine crop insurance benefits for farmers.

He says the MRM program added a practical aspect to his undergraduate degree in earth surface science.

“MRM is a very interdisciplinary program and very flexible, too,” he says. “It allowed me to continue my research in climatology but also take courses in environmental law and sustainability planning.”

Currently, Cross is working on climate change adaptation and storm water management with the City of North Vancouver.

“It is very satisfying when you see your research being utilized to bring about real, sustainable changes in the community,” he says.

Cross has been chosen to talk about his university experience at the June 13 convocation ceremony.

He says choosing SFU for his graduate studies was a good move. The university not only provided him with tools to make his research more relevant but also connected him to organizations where he can apply his knowledge.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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