SFCC Granted $351,000 from U.S.A. EDA for Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center

Santa Fe Community College announces that the U.S. Economic Development Administration has granted the college $351,000 in federal funds, which will support the purchase of critical equipment for the campus Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center (BEAMTC). The two workforce training labs on the campus will provide specialized hands-on training in the fields of building automation and microgrid energy distribution systems. The college is leveraging an additional $326,000 in state appropriations, and $111,661 in donated equipment and engineering expertise from Siemens Industries and other industry partners to support this project.

This investment will create a research environment to support product development, testing and workforce training, and business attraction and is projected to support up to 750 jobs in the next 10 years. Globally, the microgrid market is rapidly expanding and is expected to rise to $35.1 billion in 2020.

Congressman Ben Ray Luján said, “Santa Fe Community College has become a statewide leader in the effort to build the green energy workforce and economy. This grant recognizes their smart, forward-looking approach to ensure that students graduate with the skills to get good jobs in the renewable energy sector.” Luján added, “I am pleased to have supported this initiative and look forward to the next steps.”

SFCC president Randy Grissom said, “The EDA grant will put the college on the world stage for innovation, but more importantly it will be training a regional workforce for skills that are in high demand.”

BEAMTC will be housed in the college’s innovative and energy-efficient Trades and Advanced Technology Center and will serve the entire North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, which encompasses seven counties (Colfax, Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos) as well as nine pueblos and tribes.

Building automation systems (BAS) are the control system for a buildings’ heating, cooling fresh air, lighting and security. A microgrid is a distribution network for electrical energy, starting from electricity generation to its transmission and storage. A microgrid offers a local energy system that can operate independently from the larger energy grid. Microgrids expand the reach of BAS to include integration of multiple energy systems, add resiliency to the grid in the event of power disruptions, optimize the energy systems and enable advanced cyber security.

Grissom said, “We’re fortunate to be partnering with EDA and Siemens Industries to make BEAMTC a reality. Siemens has committed to corporate carbon neutrality by 2030. Siemens is the world’s most recognized name in advanced microgrids. Siemens is investing sustainably in the advancement of science education in order to prepare students for the rapidly expanding career opportunities in these fields. The combination of technological fit and educational mission makes Siemens an ideal partner for BEAMTC.”

The college will install equipment to an existing lab to accommodate the BAS equipment. Additionally, the college is in the process of constructing an almost 12,000 square foot four-bay gutter connected greenhouse and a second lab south of the TATC that will host an advanced microgrid controller. The center will incorporate building energy management techniques as a component of smart energy systems design, and develop these principles in a nanogrid serving the new greenhouse complex for advanced hydroponics and aquaponics. Both the building automation systems lab and the greenhouse nanogrid will become nodes of the proposed campus-wide microgrid, which is currently in development.
Grissom said, “BEAMTC is superbly efficient because it leverages the college’s multi-million dollar investment in existing programs, living laboratories and enable advanced cyber security.”

Camilla Bustamante, PhD, Dean of the School of Trades, Technology, Sustainability and Professional Studies, said, “Santa Fe Community College is a leading educator in the region for building science and construction technologies, as well as sustainable, renewable energy. The BEAMTC will prepare a workforce that is up-to-date on energy smart building, as well as microgrid technology. Just as people want to secure and control energy costs in their homes through smart phones, the construction industry is looking at building smarter, more energy-efficient buildings that offer increased cyber security that can be controlled independently from the main power grid. We will be teaching students how to operate, design and manage those systems.”

Students can begin taking classes in the basics of Engineering Technologies for a certificate or associate in applied science this fall. More classes in smart and microgrid technology will be offered next year through Engineering Technologies, as the BEAMTC becomes operational and provides students with hands-on training.

For more information about the BEAMTC contact Camilla Bustamante at 505-428-1639 or at camilla.bustamante@sfcc.edu.

Santa Fe Community College celebrates its 40th Anniversary as the pathway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high-quality programs that serve the academic, cultural, and economic needs of the community. The college welcomes over 10,000 students per year in credit, noncredit, workforce training, personal enrichment, and adult programs.
A “Best for Vets” and a “Military Friendly” school.

Visit sfcc.edu or call 505-428-1000.

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