The Santa Fe Innovation Park (SFIP) is a laboratory for developing and deploying innovative approaches to complex, practical problems. Utilizing a unique method, SFIP  creates, prototypes, tests, and scales effective solutions to pressing real-world challenges in such areas as energy, education, and health.

SFIP emphasizes new problem-solving processes and creative collaboration, and brings together individual and institutional leaders from industry and commerce; public planning and policy; science and technology; and the design, art, and creative fields.

You can read more about this new approach here, and sample our blog posts and items of current interest below.

A multi-organization team led by SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Lab 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. Read the rest of this entry »

SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Laboratory (MSL), in partnership with Member organization the University of New Mexico, is co-lead on a proposal to the National Science Foundation’s Smart and Connected Communities Program. The project, entitled “Integrated Planning for Public Transit and Electricity Distribution Networks, In an Era of Autonomous Vehicle Fleets,” also involves the City of Albuquerque and its new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as a community partner, and is under consideration for $3 million in funding over a three-year term. This innovative integrated research project draws from UNM’s electrical, civil and mechanical engineering, computer science, economics, and architecture and community planning faculties, and includes behavioral, social, and data science elements.

Smart and connected communities everywhere will be affected by two major – and interrelated – infrastructure shifts, already underway: in the transportation sector, the shift to electric and autonomous vehicles (EVs and AVs) and fleets; and in the energy sector, the shift to decentralized and decarbonized electricity systems. Together, these will have profound implications for many aspects of urban planning and design. Read the rest of this entry »

Building on a successful workshop in January of 2018, SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Laboratory (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. Read the rest of this entry »

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded a Public Works grant to SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Lab partner, Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). This EDA investment will support SFCC’s Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center (BEAMtc), supplied with the necessary equipment to train workers to meet industry driven job demand. The total project budget is over $700,000, with cost-share from the State of New Mexico and Siemens Industry

Siemens, recently acknowledged as the leading microgrid company in North America, was a partner in the Building Energy for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) initiative that informs the design of the Building Energy Automation Lab. The national BEST Center supports publicly-funded 2- and 4-year colleges with programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), controls, building automation, and energy/facilities management. Sponsored by Advanced Technological Education grants from the National Science Foundation, this national collaborative promotes state-of-the-art building technician education and dissemination of the latest research, technology, and industry collaborations in energy efficient buildings. Current partners are Laney College (CA), Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Read the rest of this entry »

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is collaborating with SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Lab (MSL), a partnership with Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), in their efforts to develop an advanced campus-wide microgrid for training, research, and testing and validation. NREL is a member of MSL, and SFCC is a founding MSL partner with responsibility for workforce and professional development initiatives.

The campus microgrid will be a state-of-the-art facility, unique among community colleges and comparable to university campus installations, with an emphasis on supporting the college’s educational mission, sustainability goals, operational efficiencies, and MSL’s strategic objectives. It will link existing assets, including a 1.5 megawatt photovoltaic array and a district heating and cooling system, with new technology that is capable of demonstrating the full range of advanced microgrid functionality. Read the rest of this entry »

New Mexico Highlands University, one of two core partners in SFIP’s affiliate the Center for Cultural Technology, will offer expanded opportunities thanks to a new degree program to be offered by the Department of Media Arts & Design. On November 17th, the New Mexico Board of Finance approved the MFA in media arts and cultural technology in a unanimous vote. According to Professor Miriam Langer, the new MFA program will build upon a strong 10-year partnership between Highlands and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs in the Center for Cultural Technology (CCT). The partnership places paid interns in museums and other cultural institutions throughout the state as part of the university’s one-of-a-kind AmeriCorps Cultural Technology (ACT) program. Each MFA student will be required to complete a minimum of 600 hours of internship in a cultural setting. Highlands is now submitting the new MFA to the Higher Learning Commission, the university’s accrediting agency, for approval. The new program will begin fall semester 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

The Microgrid Systems Laboratory (MSL), an SFIP joint venture with Santa Fe Community College, 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.MSL logo

MSL Managing Director David Breecker worked with staff at the City and the Senator’s New Mexico office to help plan and design the event. MSL was then asked to form a Microgrid Panel as one of three break-out sessions (along with Tribal Energy and the Energy/Water Nexus), which met following keynote remarks from the Senator, and from distinguished guest DOE Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. Video of the keynotes, including the Senator’s extensive discussion of the value of microgrids and MSL’s contributions, can be seen here, and a radio interview with the Senator and Mayor can be heard here. Read the rest of this entry »

We had the great pleasure of visiting Oaxaca, Mexico recently, an amazing city with striking parallels to SFIP’s home town of Santa Fe: a strong cultural, artistic, and culinary flavor; significant indigenous populations; and efforts to grow both a creative economy and a social impact ecosystem. The potential for collaboration was immediately evident, and the opportunity to do so presented itself serendipitously.

Oaxaca graffitiIn addition to outstanding cultural institutions, a well-preserved colonial-era downtown, fabulous restaurants, artisanal craft villages of world renown, and Zapotec ruins (including their capital city of Monte Alban), the overall spirit of the place is warm, friendly, cheerful, and welcoming.

Happily, we had heard about Hub Oaxaca, one of many “impact hubs” worldwide which share interests with SFIP’s impact investing collaboration, IN Santa Fe. A visit to their facility and conversations with key personnel proved fruitful, as we uncovered similarities, shared challenges, and potential solutions; and that resulted in an ongoing dialog with Daniel Oxenhandler, the new curator of the affiliated CATAPULTA  Social Innovation Festival about how we might work together under the framework of “sister social innovation cities” to collaborate on projects and programs, with the working project title “Viejo/Nuevo.” Read the rest of this entry »

The following post originally appeared on the Microgrid Systems Lab news page:

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

This post originally appeared on SFIP’s Microgrid Systems Lab (MSL) news:

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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SFIP Sponsors:

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