Siemens has announced its partnership with Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) to create a next-generation microgrid workforce training center. The announcement was made at the Microgrid 2017 conference, to nearly 500 senior industry participants. SFCC is MSL’s primary education partner for workforce training and professional development, and MSL will serve as Project Director to implement the program.
MSL also led the preliminary planning and fundraising efforts, including curriculum, facilities, and equipment, which is now ready for its initial implementation. This will focus on SFCC’s new Greenhouse complex (for advanced hydroponics and aquaponics technologies), which will be powered by a fully integrated “nanogrid,” designed to optimize microgrid training opportunities. The nanogrid will become a node on the proposed campus-wide microgrid, currently in development, which will also support research, innovation, and testing. As reported by conference organizer Microgrid Knowledge:
“The college is partnering with Siemens by using its microgrid management software to help teach students at the campus’ new nanogrid lab. The program will provide students with hands-on training with real-world software technology used by many private and public utilities to operate the nation’s power grid. Such software has become increasingly important to utilities as they manage a growing number of distributed energy resources being added to the grid.
“ ‘A recent Department of Energy jobs report found that the U.S. does not have enough skilled workers to fill 1.5 million new energy jobs by 2030, which is why programs like the lab at Santa Fe Community College are essential,’ said Mike Carlson, president of Siemens Digital Grid in North America. ‘With this technology, students will get the real-world training necessary to bring our grid further into the 21st century by using the tools that are already helping lead an industry-wide transformation,’ Carlson said.
“Training in microgrid technology will equip the students with the latest skills to prepare them for energy jobs as the grid becomes increasingly distributed. The energy industry faces a skills gap similar to the talent gap in the manufacturing sector. Working with Siemens, the college will reduce energy costs while increasing reliability and energy efficiency. The next phase will include a campus-wide microgrid where students will be able to see the real-time data and run simulations on their own.
“The program includes a research and teaching nanogrid that will incorporate traditional power generation, photovoltaic solar power, natural gas, and a battery energy storage system that will be installed on the campus next year. Students will be trained on the microgrid controller architecture and build skills around how to optimize certain types of power generation based on specified needs like carbon reduction or as a response to weather conditions. The microgrid technology training center is partially funded through a $351,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).”