New ideas for campus sustainability: Exploring a Microgrid proposal

The Campus as an Energy Island: Exploring the Microgrid Option
Wednesday, November 12
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Robert A. Jones ’59 Conference Room

On Wednesday, November 12 the College will host a panel to discuss the feasibility and costs/benefits of creating a Middlebury College microgrid as a way for its electrical system to become more resilient to future extreme climate events.

In recent years, rapid changes in energy technology have opened the door for localized power distribution, creating the opportunity for a fundamental shift in our society’s system of electricity production and transmission. In planning for the impacts of climate change, there is a pressing need for both increased grid resilience and the integration of renewable power sources, both of which can be addressed by widespread integration of microgrids.

As an institution with electrical needs and existing infrastructure and capital, Middlebury is ideally sized and suited to help pioneer this important technology. The challenge moving forward is in developing sophisticated control systems that will allow for maximum safety and efficiency, while also maximizing cost-saving potential. The panel will discuss the recent upsurge in microgrids across the country, the technology shifts that have enabled it, and the benefits of grid-organized distributed electricity generation in Vermont.