As part of its focus on distributed generation and microgrids, Santa Fe Community College is partnering with Siemens by using its Microgrid Management Software (MGMS) to help teach students at the campus’ new nanogrid lab. The program will provide students with hands-on training using real-world software, technology used by many private and public utilities to operate the nation’s power grid, to manage alternative, renewable, and distributed energy resources becoming increasingly prevalent across U.S. power systems. The software and training will equip the students with the latest skills to prepare them for the energy workforce, an industry currently facing a skills gap similar to the talent gap in the manufacturing sector.
“We are very excited about Santa Fe Community College’s partnership with Siemens,” said Henry Mignardot, Executive Director for Plant Operations and Maintenance. “We are achieving the cutting edge with facilities projects that relate to training and education. But we’re also doing things that will help the college improve energy resilience in addition to operating more efficiently and sustainably as an organization. It’s not only an educational program, it’s an inherent fabric of the college.”
“A recent Department of Energy jobs report found that the U.S. does not have enough skilled workers to fill 1.5 million new energy jobs by 2030, which is why programs like the lab at Santa Fe Community College are essential,” said Mike Carlson, president of Siemens Digital Grid in North America. “With this technology, students will get the real-world training necessary to bring our grid further into the 21st century by using the tools that are already helping lead an industry-wide transformation.”
“Our goal is to have students move on from this program and find good and fulfilling jobs in the future of technology, energy and energy distribution. We are grateful to Siemen’s for partnering with SFCC students to create positive outcomes for both education and industry,” said Camilla Bustamante, Pd.D., Dean of the School of Trades, Technology, Sustainability and Professional Studies and of the School of Business and Education.
This is the first step in the energy evolution at the campus as Santa Fe Community College. By working with Siemens, the college will reduce energy costs while increasing reliability and energy efficiency. The next phase will include a campus-wide microgrid where students will be able to see the real-time data and run simulations on their own.
The program includes a research and teaching nanogrid that will incorporate traditional power generation, photovoltaic solar power, natural gas, and a battery energy storage system that will be installed on the SFCC campus next year. Students will be trained on the microgrid controller architecture and build skills around how to optimize certain types of power generation based on certain needs like carbon reduction or as a response to weather conditions.
The SFCC program expands Siemens existing workforce and training efforts in the energy industry. In March, the company unveiled a new Siemens Digital Grid Lab at the University of Central Florida will train the next generation of grid experts using cutting-edge technology, including the MGMS software.