The state of Vermont has emerged as a leader in energy innovation, with coordinated efforts underway in the areas of energy efficiency, the integration and development of renewable energy sources and the deployment of smart grid technologies.
The University of Vermont will host the newly formed Center for Energy Transformation and Innovation, a joint center for research in areas such as energy efficiency, complex systems, consumer response and acceptance, and energy policy and governance.
These efforts reflect growing partnerships statewide and a deep commitment to energy sustainability. Vermont’s efforts have been further strengthened by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to support a utilities-led smart-grid effort called eEnergy Vermont and also a partnership with Sandia National Laboratories to help create the Nation’s first statewide 21st-century energy infrastructure.
This partnership combines Sandia’s deep technical expertise in energy delivery systems, including the integration of renewables into the grid, with Vermont’s commitment to sustainable energy and its multiple-sector collaboration.
Specifically, the Sandia-Vermont partnership was created to: enhance multidisciplinary education and workforce development appropriate for a smart electricity infrastructure sector; promote research collaborations with the University of Vermont to further smart grid deployment; and form liaisons with private and public stakeholders to encourage information sharing, technology transfer and job growth in the electric power sector.
Grid modernization requires a new generation of field engineers, control-room operators and others that not only understand the technical complexities of intelligent communications systems, dynamic load management and renewables integration but also the larger policy and economic implications of these systems. To this end, we are offering seminars and short courses to both student and professional audiences.
One of the partnership’s goals is to broaden and deepen the community of stakeholders with a vested interest in modernizing Vermont’s electricity infrastructure.
Another goal is to enhance consumer outreach and education. As smart meters are deployed, residential and commercial consumers statewide need to better understand how they operate, how to interact with them and what benefits they offer. We are collaborating with eEnergy Vermont and their communications-working group on consumer education and also researching consumer response to the smart grid.
Research and Development
Teams of researchers, led by technical co-leaders from Sandia and the University of Vermont, are collaborating on smart-grid related research in the following areas:
- Complex systems
- Consumer response
- Policy and governance
- Smart grid deployment