News

MSL at Santa Fe Energy Summit

MSL was pleased to help develop and participate in the Santa Fe Energy Summit of August, 2015. Convened by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, in collaboration with Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzalez, the Summit “…brought together experts, business and tribal leaders, public officials, and decision makers to advance the clean energy economy in northern New Mexico through innovation, investment, smart policies, and collaboration.” Senator Heinrich sits on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and has proposed and promoted legislation bearing on several aspects of grid modernization. (more…)



MSL Director Helps “Reinvent the Grid”

MSL Managing Director David Breecker participated in the Santa Fe Institute’s invitational workshop, “Reinventing the Grid: Designing Resilient, Adaptive and Creative Power Structures” in April. Co-hosted by two visiting researchers on sabbatical at SFI, Seth Blumsack (Pennsylvania State University) and Paul Hines (University of Vermont), along with SFI internal faculty member Cris Moore, the workshop brought together a fascinatingly diverse set of experts from a range of relevant fields to consider the future of our power systems. These included industry and utility representatives, research scientists and engineers, policy and regulatory experts, ecologists, search algorithm designers, statistical physicists, and network theorists among others.

As the abstract states, “Electric power grids are complex infrastructures that operate across large swaths of space and time. A power grid’s planning and operation timescales can span up to twelve orders of magnitude: from milliseconds to decades. The largest networks, such as the Eastern US and European Interconnections, synchronize power plants across many thousands of kilometers. And this spatial integration is increasing: in many locations, the locus of control is moving from local electric utilities to regional entities. (more…)



Workforce & Training Infrastructure Progress

MSL Partner Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) and its Sustainable Technologies Center has received two funding commitments in support of its Microgrid Education Center (MEC), which now begins its planning and development phase. Together, these commitments address both curriculum and associated equipment and infrastructure, including a campus-wide functional microgrid testbed, in a way that supports MSL’s overall mission and objectives.

The Microgrid Education Center will provide technical training, ongoing development for industry professionals, custom training for industry, and upper-level courses and advanced degrees through university partnerships, along with “train the trainer” offerings for global applications. The electric industry workforce is graying rapidly, and will require large numbers of new workers soon, with concurrent growth internationally in rural electrification. In order to keep pace with the technological innovations affecting the industry, there will be a crucial need for appropriately trained technical staff at all levels and sectors of the industry, a need that MEC will help address. The initial course at SFCC, with the working title of “Introduction to Sustainable Energy Technologies,” will be offered in the spring semester of 2016, and the Smart Grid and Microgrid Program flier can be dowloaded here.

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Human Factors Report Available

Human, Social, And Cultural Practices Work Advances

MSL is pleased to announce that its inaugural research publication is available for download: Human, Social, And Cultural Practices For Rural Electrification Using Microgrids develops a critical set of insights and tools to ensure the success of rural microgrid (and other technology) deployments based on essential aspects of community engagement and input. This work was the subject of the MSL-hosted workshop in May 2014, and formed part of a Stage 1 feasibility study for rural deployments in India. MSL is now part of a consortium comprising MSL Members General MicroGrids, Inc. and The Energy and Resources Institute, along with Alstom Grid USA, India Smart Grid Forum, and India’s TERRE Policy Center, which is assembling funding for Stage 2 design and deployment work. In addition, MSL is developing the Center for Participatory Energy Practice (CPEP), and through it will support training and community engagement work in the field. (more…)



MSL Supports City Climate Task Force

MSL Managing Director David Breecker has been asked to serve on two of the Working Groups (the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy group, and the Finance group) supporting the City of Santa Fe’s Climate Action Task Force. In addition, Randy Grissom, President of MSL partner Santa Fe Community College, is a member of the Task Force.

On Monday, November 3, Mayor Javier M. Gonzales hosted the city’s first-ever Climate Action Summit, which examined the city’s efforts and progress in the areas of water, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transportation. The mayor was joined by members of the Task Force, whose mission is to counsel and advise the mayor on the types of strategies and programs the city should undertake to create a healthier and more resilient community by protecting the environment.

City staff presented to the Mayor and Task Force a host of sustainability metrics and data within each program topic, and discussed short and long-term projects and goals designed to continue making progress in each of those areas. The various Working Groups are charged with engaging and leveraging the vast technical expertise in the community in support of the City’s goals, which include the formation of a public utility capable of delivering advanced energy solutions. (more…)



Energy Workshop, Design Thinking

In support of its human factors work on the DOE-India microgrid pilot feasibility study, MSL convened a cross-sector workshop of a dozen experts drawn from a broad range of  relevant disciplines and on-the-ground experience. The highly successful workshop was co-facilitated and hosted by the Santa Fe Art Institute (an affiliate of MSL partner institution the Santa Fe Innovation Park) and its director Sanjit Sethi, an expert in “design thinking” and its application to many problem-solving settings. It featured a user-centered design approach to the Human, Social, and Cultural (“HSC”) factors bearing on successful technology and energy projects in rural community settings. Joining Sanjit in leading the session were MSL General Manager David Breecker, and Christian Casillas, who recently completed his Ph.D. at the Energy and Resources Group of the University of California, Berkeley. Christian did his field work in community participatory energy planning in Nicaragua, and also has practical experience in India. (more…)



MSL, Universities Chosen for DOE Submission

A team comprising MSL, the University of New Mexico’s Center for Emerging Energy Technologies, NM State University, and NM Tech has been selected to submit the New Mexico proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, under its current EPSCoR funding opportunity. DOE’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DOE EPSCoR) is a federal-state partnership program designed to enhance the capabilities of designated states and territories to conduct sustainable and nationally competitive energy-related research. DOE EPSCoR addresses this mission by fostering competitions for scientific and engineering research in states and territories that have demonstrated a commitment to develop their research bases and to improve the quality of science and engineering research conducted at their universities and colleges. The New Mexico proposal will focus the state’s considerable assets and capabilities on accelerating the deployment of Utility Distribution Microgrids, including technical and engineering challenges, standardization goals, and policy, regulatory, and social factors. Utility Distribution Microgrids will be critical enabling infrastructure for the nation’s overall grid modernization and smart grid efforts. (more…)



MSL Partners for India Project

As of January 2014, the Microgrid Systems Laboratory has begun work on a feasibility study for rural microgrid pilot deployment in India.

General MicroGrids, Inc (GMI), a member of MSL, is leading the India microgrid project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and partnered with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in India. TERI, also a founding member of MSL, is one of the world’s top-rated think tanks for sustainability issues. MSL will participate directly in this project, which will contribute to the objectives of India’s Ministry of Power’s recently released “Smart Grid Vision and Roadmap for India.” india-roadmapThe Roadmap calls for 10,000 village-scale microgrids by 2022, as a primary rural electrification strategy to reach India’s 300 million people with no access to electricity (as well as industrial parks and commercial hubs). (more…)