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December 12, 2011

Sanders and Sandia Announce New $15 Million Energy Lab at University of Vermont

Sandia presser photoBy the summer of 2013, Vermont will be the first state in the nation to have near-universal electrical smart-grid coverage — and Sandia National Laboratories is setting up shop at the University of Vermont to make it all happen.

That was Sen. Bernie Sanders' announcement at a press conference in his Burlington office this morning. Gov. Peter Shumlin, Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell, UVM President John Bramley and Sandia Vice President Rick Stulen joined Sanders to announce a three-year, $15 million commitment to open the first-ever national laboratory in New England in Burlington. 

The new lab, dubbed the Center for Energy Transformation and Innovation (CETI), will make as the centerpiece of its work the rollout of smart meters throughout the Green Mountain State, enabling all the state's utilities to better manage energy consumption and better integrate renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, into the power grid. The $15 million commitment comes in addition to the $69 million already allocated to Vermont from the federal government to roll out smart meters statewide.

As Vermont shifts from its reliance on fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources, "with those technologies comes an intermittency that we have to figure out how to manage," Sandia's Stulen explained. "So, if the state and the country [are] to achieve penetration greater than 30 to 40 percent of renewables, we need to understand how to manage that in a way that everybody has the power they need all the time."

In effect, Stulen added, smart meters will "turn the grid from a one-way street to a two-way street," where small, locally generated power is fed back into the grid and effectively managed. Smart metering also provides the grid with "increased resiliency and reliability" in an uncertain energy future. Managing that uncertainty also means anticipating "cyber challenges" that open up as home and business utility meters go online and thus are potentially susceptible to cyber attacks.

Sanders and Shumlin both describe the lab as a major driver of new sustainable energy development as well as job creation. Although neither offered a prediction about how many new jobs could potentially be created by CETI's presence at UVM, "The history of where national laboratories are located is a history of economic development," Sanders said.  

Pointing to last spring's record flooding, as well as to the foot or more of rain Vermont received during Tropical Storm Irene, Shumlin noted that extreme weather is the "wave of the future" that can be "both a challenge and an economic opportunity for Vermonters, if handled properly."

Similarly, UVM's Bramley sees enornous opportunities for the CETI lab to open up new avenues of research at UVM.

“This helps us to engage around the STEM [science, technology engineering and math] disciplines," he said, "but it also relates to behavioral science and modeling and complex systems and all the other things that we’ve really tried to make a feature of the future of the university."

Responding to a question about Sandia's relationship with Lockheed Martin — the defense contractor whose proposed partnership with Burlington got Mayor Bob Kiss into hot water earlier this year — Stulen clarified the often misunderstood relationship between the national energy lab and the nation's largest defense contractor. Sandia, he explained, like all national laboratories, is contractually required to have an oversight partner from the private sector, and Lockheed is Sandia's partner. However, he emphasized that Lockheed doesn't "function in the mission space of the labs at all" because of "firewalls" that have been set up between between the two.

Photo by Ken Picard

Why aren't Jonny and the chick who makes the posters all over this one? Off saving the earth in some other way?

Sandia got started designing nuclear warheads, from Wikipedia:

"The Sandia National Laboratories, managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation), are two major United States Department of Energy research and development national laboratories.

Their primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons. The primary campus is located on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the other is in Livermore, California, next to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory. "

This won't be controversial, not in the least.

Give it a rest haters. Jeesch.

From Sandia's website their mission:
"Sandia is a national security laboratory involved in a variety of research and development programs to help secure a peaceful and free world through technology.

We develop technologies to sustain, modernize, and protect our nuclear arsenal, prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, defend against terrorism, protect our national infrastructures, ensure stable energy and water supplies, and provide new capabilities to our armed forces.

Our primary sponsors are the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security. We also work with other government agencies, industry, and academic institutions to accomplish our missions in the following strategic areas:
•Nuclear Weapons
ensuring the stockpile is safe, secure, reliable, and can support the United States' deterrence policy
•Energy, Climate, & Infrastructure Security
enhancing the surety of energy and other critical resources
reducing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and enhancing the surety of critical infrastructures
•Defense Systems & Assessments
addressing new threats to national security
•Homeland Security & Defense
helping to protect our nation against terrorism

Sandia's Science, Technology, and Engineering program conducts a large variety of R&D programs that support the five key areas above.

Sandia is making our rapidly changing world safer and more secure. All of our work is linked by a commitment to "science with the mission in mind."

Yer missing the point Jimmy, if Jim Douglas had proposed this the left would be batshit insane, but it's Bernie so the blinders are on.

Didn't the Progs in Burlington go apesh** when Mayor Kiss proposed an environmental partnership with General Dynamics?

But now this?

Smart grid comes in, takes over our homes, Barbara Grimes sits in her office watching the video come in, all while in her claims monitoring power usage for our benefit, so we can reduce usage so she can ask for a rate increase because of a lack of sales for her dept. Then she will demand raises for her staff, because of their great work.
Note for Barbara, your retirement is eagerly awaited, and your reign of terror is not likely to be ever thought of as a success.

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