A ribbon cutting at Aperture Center at Mesa del Sol on May 17 celebrated a new collaboration aimed at making renewable energy a workable reality that can be incorporated into the nations electrical grid.  The University of New Mexico has office and lab space in the building and will host a control center operated by The New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO).  The control center will operate a microgrid project.

The microgrid will demonstrate the use of smart grid technology in a commercial building. The purpose of the project is to assist the existing electrical power grid in integrating large amounts of intermittent renewable energy. The project will enable the Aperture Center to respond to demand/supply signals from the main power grid and allow for completely independent operation in emergency situations.

As one part of several research projects involving renewable energy, the UNM School of Engineering Center for Emerging Energy Technologies under director and associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Andrea Mammoli will collaborate with PNM to integrate the microgrid with PNM's distribution systems at Mesa del Sol.  The collaboration will involve a number of activities and faculty including Asst. Professor of Computer Engineering Olga Lavrova, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Tom Caudell, and  Asst. Professor of Mechanical Engineering Francesco Sorrentino.

Another project involves nine Japanese companies who have supplied components of this innovative system. Shimizu Corporation is supplying site coordination and a building energy management system (BEMS). Toshiba Corporation is supplying a μEMS which can respond to demand and supply signals from the existing power grid. Sharp Corporation is providing solar photovoltaic equipment; Meidensha Corporation is supplying PCS, Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. Is supplying fuel cells, Tokyo Gas Co.,Ltd is supplying BEMS, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Is supplying gas engines and Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. And Furukawa Battery Co., Ltd. Is supplying lead-acid storage batteries.

Over the next two years, UNM in collaboration with NEDO, PNM and SNL will explore ways to manage integration of renewable energy into the current electrical grid in a seamless way, using Aperture Center as a test site.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; email: kwent2@unm.edu