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.

The Microgrid Panel was comprised of MSL Member institutions, offering a rare and useful opportunity for many of us to meet face-to-face and discuss critical issues. Attendees were Bryan Hannegan (The National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Ross Guttromson (Sandia National Laboratories), Russell Bent (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Jesse Berst (Smart Cities Council), and Tom Fenimore (Duke Energy), along with John Alejandro from the City of Santa Fe, moderated by MSL’s Breecker. The structured discussion examined key gaps and challenges inhibiting microgrid deployments at scale; the best opportunities for MSL to make a high-impact contribution; and the resources that will be required to support that work. A set of recommendations were sent to the Senator at his request.

Following the Summit, the MSL members joined other technical experts for a planning workshop for microgrid infrastructure development at Santa Fe Community College. Work on that development (along with the related workforce training curriculum development) is proceeding through its initial design phase, and will soon enter implementation.