MSL is leading the Resilient El Rito project, a proposed community resilience microgrid project in the village of El Rito, NM, based on and around the El Rito campus of Northern New Mexico College (NNMC). The village is at the end of a single electric power distribution line that traverses mountainous terrain and wilderness, and is subject to reliability and resilience challenges common to rural isolated areas, including climate-induced wildfires and winds. The project is a collaboration between NNMC and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC), the local electric utility, advised by Camus Energy (KCEC’s technology partner) and MSL. (more…)
Category: pilot projects
MSL welcomes the City of Albuquerque (CABQ), NM to its Member consortium. CABQ is the first municipality to join MSL, and has distinguished itself in its programs and projects for sustainability, energy innovation, and grid modernization, including several planned municipal resilience microgrid projects.
Albuquerque (a winner of the American Climate Cities Challenge) is a leader in equitable, long term environmental solutions. The City is committed to use 100% renewable energy for municipal operations by 2025, and is on track to be one of the top ten U.S. cities powered by renewable energy. (more…)
MSL has convened and is co-leading a team to respond to the National Science Foundation’s CIVIC Innovation Challenge. In partnership with the University of New Mexico and the City of Albuquerque, and with the participation of PNM Resources and community stakeholders, the CIVIC team is proposing an innovative approach to increasing the energy resiliency of vulnerable communities.
As stated by NSF, “The Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) is a research and action competition in the Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) domain designed to build a more cohesive research-to-innovation pipeline and foster a collaborative spirit…. (more…)
MSL has joined a highly accomplished Master Developer and an outstanding team of collaborators on a proposal for Santa Fe’s Midtown District development. The “Central Park Santa Fe” proposal is led by Allan Affeldt, best known for highly successful restorations of historic hotels in New Mexico and Arizona. If selected by the City of Santa Fe, the Master Developer will be responsible for the site’s overall master planning and development. MSL would advise on the infrastructure’s conceptual design and implementation, featuring energy and integrated smart systems.
A multi-organization team led by MSL has proposed the Whole Energy Systems Transitions (WEST) project for funding through a new program in New Mexico, the Collaborative Zone Grants. Created by three leading local philanthropies, the McCune, Thornburg, and Santa Fe Community Foundations, the grant “…is an opportunity for collaborations of organizations and other entities to apply together for multi-year funding to test, prove and support approaches to New Mexico’s challenges that extend beyond the mission of any single organization.”
The WEST proposal addresses the funders’ framing question, “What would an equitable energy transition look like for New Mexico communities?” Within that framework, the main issue the project seeks to address is that NM’s transition to a 21stcentury energy system – which we define as sustainable, resilient, and equitable – will have both universal impacts on all New Mexicans (primarily due to economic diversification from the state’s reliance on fossil fuel production), and also diverse impacts on the various different types and sizes of communities (rural, urban, traditional, Native American), and depending on their economic base and vitality.
Building on a successful workshop in January of 2018, MSL has partnered with the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNCC) to form the Energy Sovereignty Institute (ESI). ESI is a not-for-profit social initiative, designed to promote the benefits of decentralized energy systems and technologies for Native American communities, and to advance their availability and use.
SNCC focuses on culturally and environmentally sustainable development with American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous communities. As sustainable energy, housing, and community design are inextricably woven together in any effective development framework, SNCC and MSL combine the needed skills, experience, and networks to advance a shared mission and agenda. (more…)
Kicking off 2018 with a new market innovation initiative, MSL organized and co-hosted an inaugural workshop on Tribal Energy Sovereignty in January. This half-day roundtable offered a survey of relevant concepts and factors bearing on energy independence for indigenous communities, including technology, finance, regulations, economic and workforce, and cultural aspects. Based on the positive input received and level of participation and engagement, we will now assess the feasibility of launching a national program to support Native American communities in their quest for energy sovereignty, with a focus on community microgrids.
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 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…)
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.” The 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…)
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