Sandia National Laboratories and Forest City Enterprises – Partnering for a Secure and Sustainable Energy Future
Demand for electricity throughout the world increases daily. In the United States alone, demand is projected to increase 14% by 2035, thus taxing an already fully loaded grid system. To meet these challenges, new technologies must be evaluated and applied. Analyzing emerging energy systems and potential solutions provides valuable information to evolve the electric grid.
Renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, coupled with smart grid and microgrid technologies, energy storage, and energy efficiency are viable options to address the problem. However, integrating these systems require full understanding of operational challenges and establishing a return on investment. To address these challenges, Sandia National Laboratories and Forest City Enterprises embarked on a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) in April 2009 to advance research and provide real-world test beds to investigate technologies and integration issues at several Forest City planned communities, including Mesa del Sol. Its close proximity to the technical resources of Sandia Laboratories and its new infrastructure make it an ideal testing ground.
Forest City Enterprises embraces the principle of sustainability, which is one of its core values. Over the last decade, the company has developed an internal road map that guides new projects toward designs that decrease carbon output, reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and reduce energy usage. Sandia’s interest in sustainability includes diversifying the country’s energy mix; reducing dependence on foreign petroleum; reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts; creating a more flexible, more reliable, and higher-capacity U.S. energy infrastructure; and improving efficiency and productivity of existing energy systems.
Together, the partnership is working with industry to research and demonstrate emerging energy technologies that will promote sustainable energy. Like many of Forest City’s other developments, Mesa del Sol provides the opportunity for industry to test its products and concepts in a real world environment. Sandia’s technical expertise in energy sustainability will guide industry’s efforts.
An important element of the partnership is Sandia’s energy showcase located at Aperture Center in Mesa del Sol. Two of the primary objectives of the energy showcase are to illustrate various projects that the partnership is undertaking, and educate the public about the importance of sustainable energy technologies in America’s energy future. Sandia and Forest City are working on many collaborative projects aimed at making the transition to a clean, secure, sustainable, energy future. These include projects at Mesa del Sol, such as battery storage and photovoltaic analysis, solar forecasting, small scale fuel cells, and the Japanese NEDO Microgrid Demonstration. Likewise, Sandia and Forest City are working on solar and demand reduction technologies at communities in Hawaii.