A New Energy Research Center Opens In Vermont
12/12/11 12:04PM By Melody Bodette
Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Peter Shumlin announced a three-year partnership Monday morning with the Sandia National Laboratory.
The plan calls for Sandia to establish a Center for Energy Transformation and Innovation. It will be located at the University of Vermont.
Rick Stulen is the vice president of the Sandia National Laboratory.
He says Vermont is a small state where the laboratory can get something done, and the state's focus on renewable energy and smart grid technology will be among the areas of research covered by the lab.
Stulen says modernizing the electric grid faces some big challenges.
(Stulen) "We want to be integrating as much renewables as possible onto the grid, both solar and wind. With those technologies comes an intermittency that we have to figure out how to manage. If both the state and the country is to achieve greater than 30 percent renewables we have to understand a way to manage that so everybody has all the power they need all the time."
(Host) The center will also look at resiliency and reliability of the grid as well as research into cyber threats to the network. And they'll look at how to manage increased demand for electricity at night to charge electric cars.
Much of the research will focus on smart grid technology. Vermont's utilities are in the midst of a project that will roll out smart meters to more than 85 percent of the state in the next three years.
Senator Bernie Sanders says both the research and the move toward renewable energy will create jobs.
(Sanders) "The history of where new national laboratories are located is a history of economic development, because one of the mandates of Sandia and the other national labs is not just to sit in the ivory tower doing research and development as important as that is, their mandates is to work with American companies to help them improve their technologies to help them become more economically competitive."
(Host) The laboratory project will be funded annually with three million dollars from Sandia, one million from the U.S. Department of Energy and one million dollars from the state.