The Microgrid Systems Lab is structured as four synergistic program pillars: Research, Innovation, Demonstration, and Education (RIDE). These pillars house various projects, and are supported by a range of program Partners and MSL Member institutions, drawn from a broad range of relevant sectors.
In recognition of the value of this systems innovation approach, MSL was selected as the 2022 winner of the Silver Award in the Smart Grid pillar of the 2022 Energy Smart Communities Initiative Best Practices Awards Program, given by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Read more >
For more information on Partner, Member, and Research Network opportunities, please contact us.
MSL’s research activities focus on collaborative approaches to key scientific and technical issues in distributed energy systems. Collaborators include members of the MSL Research Network and others as appropriate. Currently, MSL, New Mexico State University, and consortium Member The National Renewable Energy Laboratory are collaborating under a U.S. Department of Energy cybersecurity grant to research a federated learning framework for trustworthy and resilient energy internet of things.
MSL’s Energy Sovereignty Institute (see below) also collaborates with the Rochester Institute of Technology to offer a fully funded PhD opportunity in energy sovereignty research topics. This partnership, together with Navajo Technical University, was awarded a grant from the Public Interest Technology University Research program for Energy Sovereignty related research, education, and advocacy. Most recently, MSL, RIT, Navajo Tech, and the University of Seattle were awarded a National Science Foundation grant for a related Energy Sovereignty Research Workshop.
In addition, MSL serves as a Primary Partner, member of the Management Team and Executive Committee, and leader of the Industry Advisory Board of the New Mexico SMART Grid Center, a $20 million National Science Foundation funding award for a state-wide grid modernization consortium (three research universities, two national labs, MSL) focused on utility distribution microgrids.
MSL’s innovation program features cross-sector collaboration (including utility, manufacturing, ICT, systems integration, regulatory, policy, business model, and finance perspectives) to advance market and ecosystem innovation. This work includes technical, conceptual, and experimental components, with a global scope, using MSL’s expanded resource and facilities network.
Current projects include the Energy Sovereignty Institute for Native American communities, and an associated workshop and resource-base website for New Mexico tribal energy stakeholders; and ongoing work to accelerate microgrid innovation for the developing economies by cross-fertilizing energy thought leadership from around the world, building on a highly successful 2022 pilot workshop in Africa.
MSL most recently launched a New Grid Paradigms initiative, with the goal of achieving transformational innovation in grid modernization.
MSL initiated and serves as Project Director on the Resilient El Rito community resilience microgrid project, which has been awarded funding by DOE via MSL Member Kit Carson Electric Cooperative as one of three community microgrids to be built in northern NM. Preliminary design and engineering were supported by the NM Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Dept. and MSL Member Sandia National Laboratories. MSL will serve on the management and design teams of all three microgrid projects.
MSL is leading the energy systems design process for the redevelopment of the Visual Arts Center at Midtown Campus in Santa Fe, a project led by the Santa Fe Art Institute with the Midtown Arts and Design Alliance. The complex is comprised of several buildings designed by the esteemed Mexican architect Richard Legorreta, including the SFAI building, and two adjacent World War II barracks, totaling approximately 54,000 square feet, and will demonstrate and provide a testbed for advanced building energy control automation and a microgrid.
In addition, MSL Member Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) is developing two microgrids with MSL’s guidance, which will serve as demonstration facilities, while also supporting education (see below), testing, and research. The first is an educational microgrid, or “nanogrid,” which has been commissioned and houses the main microgrid classroom. The second, currently in engineering assessment, will be a full campus-wide microgrid spanning all energy and water assets. Siemens Industry is the project engineering partner on both, with a nanogrid conceptual design from MSL member The National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
MSL will lead the development of a workforce program for three DOE-funded community resilience microgrid projects, with Northern New Mexico College, UNM Taos, and MSL Member Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). MSL also co-founded and advises SFCC in developing the Smart and Microgrid Training Center and Facilities Automation and Control Technician programs, that will provide technical training, ongoing development for industry professionals, custom training for industry, and upper-level courses and advanced degrees through university partnerships.
SFCC’s distributed energy systems programs, co-founded with MSL, have received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the state of New Mexico, and Santa Fe County, and through the NM SMART Grid Center for a full-time faculty member now leading the SMTC.
MSL also produced and directed three state-wide Distributed Energy Summits for the NM SMART Grid Center, the Summit for Distributed Energy Systems Workforce in 2020, the NM Clean Energy Transition Summit in 2021, and the NM Net Zero Summit in 2022.
MSL currently has the following collaborating member institutions:
- Los Alamos National Laboratory*
- Sandia National Laboratories*
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory*
- Center for Emerging Energy Technologies at the University of New Mexico*
- Alaska Center for Energy and Power* and Alaska Microgrid Group
- The Energy and Resources Institute* (India)
- Duke Energy
- Kit Carson Electric Cooperative
- Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities
- City of Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Camus Energy
- HOMER Energy
- General MicroGrids
- Modern Grid Solutions
- SteamaCo (Kenya)
- Santa Fe Community College
- The Clean Coalition
- Advanced Energy Centre at the MaRS Discovery District (Canada)
- Smart Cities Council
*Indicates members of the MSL research center network.
The research center network is an international group of research centers, affiliated public ministries and agencies, and existing research partnerships and networks, working in the microgrid or minigrid domain, and on related technologies and topics. MSL member institutions cooperate in this regard by:
- Sharing the results of their non-proprietary work
- Joining collaborative project or program teams
- Acting as local experts and affiliates in their geographic home regions
- Engaging in joint technology transfer and commercialization when desired
- Supporting MSL’s efforts to establish international standards
- Participating in MSL conferences, colloquia, and workshop