Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico recently announced that it has been granted $351,000 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to purchase equipment for the campus Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center (BEAMTC). It has also received state appropriations, and donated equipment and engineering expertise from Siemens Industries and other industry partners. Altogether, the school has received nearly $800,000 to help achieve its goals in the building automation and microgrid sectors. It is expected that these efforts in product development, testing and workforce training will support up to 750 tech jobs in New Mexico’s renewable energy sector over the next decade.
The two labs on the campus will provide specialized hands-on training in the fields of building automation (BAS) and microgrid energy distribution systems. The funds will be used to install new BAS equipment, a greenhouse and an advanced microgrid controller lab. The center will integrate building energy management techniques with smart energy systems design, all to be incorporated in a nanogrid serving the new greenhouse complex for advanced hydroponics and aquaponics. A campus-wide microgrid is currently in development.
Camilla Bustamante, 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.”