The Microgrid Systems Lab is structured as four synergistic programs: Research, Innovation, Demonstration, and Education (RIDE). These programmatic 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.
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. As a major focus of its research program, MSL is a participant in and serves on the Management Team of the New Mexico SMART Grid Center, a major National Science Foundation funding award for a state-wide grid modernization consortium (three research universities, two national labs, MSL). The Center is investigating decentralized architectures for utility distribution feeders and associated communications, controls, and decision support factors.
The VxG project is a partnership with MSL member the University of New Mexico (Schools of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Civil Engineering, Architecture and Community Planning), the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, and the City of Albuquerque. VxG proposes to examine the future of electrified public transit systems in mid-size cities and the implications for urban environments, consumer behavior, and electricity distribution and storage, and is currently seeking funding.
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. Collaborators work to solve practical challenges relating to the development and deployment of microgrid systems, to drive tangible, real-world progress in the field. MSL’s methodology emphasizes a whole-system orientation, so as to understand the interactions of all the various factors at play. This work includes technical, conceptual, and experimental components, with a global scope, using MSL’s expanded resource and facilities network.
Current projects in development include the Energy Sovereignty Institute for Native American communities, and an associated workshop for New Mexico tribal energy stakeholders; a Grid Modernization Technology Accelerator; and a “reciprocal innovation” approach to accelerating microgrid deployments for energy access in rural Africa.
MSL founding member Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) is developing two microgrids, which will serve as demonstration facilities, while also supporting education (see below), testing, and research. The first is a “nanogrid” dedicated to the new greenhouse and controlled growing environment at SFCC, which is currently in its initial deployment phase and will house 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 and project coordination by MSL.
In association with founding member Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), MSL is developing a Microgrid Education Center that 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 deployments.
As a first step, SFCC is establishing the Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center (BEAMtc) with Siemens Industry as a project partner, coordination by MSL, and funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the state of New Mexico, and Santa Fe County. SFCC has also received funding through the NM SMART Grid Center for a full-time faculty member and program development in the microgrid workforce education area, for which MSL is serving as a primary consultant. In addition, SFCC and MSL have partnered with Pennsylvania State University, a leader in microgrid technology and training, to develop the Distributed Energy Systems Technical Education Network Initiative (DESTENI). The goal is to create a widely replicable, industry validated, culturally inclusive Distributed Energy Systems Technician training program of curriculum components and certifications that will significantly advance the knowledge and implementation of Distributed Energy Systems education and training nationally.
The electric industry workforce is graying rapidly, and will require large numbers of new workers soon. 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 the training center will address.
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 UNM*
- The Energy and Resources Institute* (India)
- Duke Energy
- Kit Carson Electric Cooperative
- Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities
- 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 Network (MRN).
MRN 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. MRN’s 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