Distributed Energy Workforce Summit

In partnership with Santa Fe Community College (an MSL founding Member), MSL organized and produced the first Virtual Summit on Distributed Energy Systems Workforce on September 10 and 11, 2020. By all accounts the event was a great success, with nearly 100 registrants representing all sectors, and peak attendance of 45 participants. The online workshop focused on emerging workforce education, training, and job opportunities in Distributed Energy Systems (such as Battery Energy Storage Systems, solar + storage, smart buildings, microgrids, and the evolving smart grid).

Extensive presentations and original videos reviewed SFCC’s Smart And Microgrid Training Center and training Nanogrid (both developed in association with MSL), including a virtual guided tour of SFCC’s new distributed energy facilities, and a detailed look at the curriculum being developed there by lead Faculty Frank Currie.

The keynote presentation by New Mexico state Representative Abbas Akhil drew on his prior experience on the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories and PNM Resources, to paint a picture of “New Mexico’s Distributed and Renewable Energy Future.” This was followed by a panel discussion with representatives of PNM, Kit Carson Electric Coop, Siemens Industry, Emera Technologies, Positive Energy Solar, and the IBEW/NECA Labor-Management Cooperation Committee exploring key trends in technology, workforce needs, and training.

SFCC’s Smart and Microgrid Training Center is supported by the NSF-funded NM EPSCoR SMART Grid Center, in which MSL is a primary partner. The agenda included an overview of the SMART Grid Center, and upper-level study and research pathways with the NM universities at its core. The goals for the immersive event were to:

  • Inform other institutions of exciting developments in this area at SFCC
  • Share and diffuse information, expertise, and coursework to those interested
  • Build a state-wide network in the domain to support Primarily Undergraduate Institutions working in this area
  • Gather input from industry on workforce needs, and assist all institutions in creating workforce in distributed energy
  • Share rich-media content that can also be used in workforce training and outreach, to broaden the community and increase insight and engagement

Virtual Summit participants included representatives of New Mexico’s Primarily Undergraduate Institutions, research universities, National Laboratories, utilities, industry, state agencies, tribal organizations, and federal representatives.

Visit the SFCC Summit webpage for the full agenda and speaker profiles, and upcoming links to the video tour of SFCC’s distributed energy facilities and downloads of speaker presentations.