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woman works on maintaining a microgrid

About the grid

St. Thomas Microgrid Research

St. Thomas Microgrid Research

The University of St. Thomas has one of the only student-focused microgrid research facilities in the nation. At the Center for Microgrid Research, both undergraduates (beginning as early as their first year at St. Thomas) and graduate students help develop technology and are trained to shape the evolution of energy in the face of climate change. The Center, based at the School of Engineering, attracts an array of students, researchers and industry partners interested in distributed energy resources.

The Center for Microgrid Research seeks to be one of the premiere applied engineering research centers in the area of distributed energy resources and microgrids that will enable a secure, resilient and carbon-free electric grid for the 21st Century.

We look forward to engaging in research opportunities with the power community. Please contact us if you would like to partner with the Center for Microgrid Research.


Dr. Mahmoud Kabalan

Director of Center for Microgrid Research
Phone Number
(651) 962-5598

Student Researchers’ Experience

Our undergraduates and graduate students work together at our Center’s research facilities and gain hands-on experiences greatly valued by the energy industry. Students who have worked on the microgrid readily find internships and employment opportunities at local and national engineering companies such as Xcel Energy, Mortenson and SEL. The hands-on experience that those students gain while working on the microgrid is unrivaled within the state of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Student researchers can begin work at the Center as early as their first year at St. Thomas. Learn more about a few of the undergraduate and graduate students who have contributed to research at the Center:

Headshot of Josh Berg Headshot of Grant Gregory Headshot of Ian Masui Rachel Pietsch headshot Headshot of Janani Mohanraj

Eau Claire, WI

Josh Berg

Major: Electrical Engineering and Physics

As a sophomore, Josh volunteered on the Microgrid and worked on Relay Protection programming to program command that tells the relays to open or close to ensure the grid is running safely and efficiently.

Carver, MN

Grant Gregory

Major: Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Power Systems and a minor in Physics

As a sophomore, Grant's work on the Microgrid specialized in working with the Load Bank, the RTAC setup and basic coding of tags.

Excelsior, MN

Ian Masui

Major: Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science

Ian completed various projects on the Microgrid including coding protection logic into 451 relays, creating a network for the devices to communicate with each other, and coding real-time automation controllers to command all the relays and other devices to run smoothly.

Andover, MN

Rachel Pietsch

Major: Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Power Systems and a Physics minor

Rachel started working on the Microgrid her first year at St. Thomas. She focused on the diesel generator and its Woodward controller, the human machine interface, some relay protection and learned more about the automation controller her sophomore year.

Chennai, India

Janani Mohanraj ‘20

M.S. in Electrical Engineering and graduate certificate in Power Electronics and Systems from St. Thomas

Janani currently works in industry as a Microgrid Automation Engineer. Her responsibilities include development of microgrid controller system including integration, software coding and lab testing for smooth operation of the grid.

The opportunity to work on the microgrid as a first-year engineering student allowed me to begin investing in my interest of power systems early on during my college experience. Becoming a power engineer allows me to know that the work I am passionate about is making a difference in the lives of countless people.

Rachel Pietsch, undergraduate student researcher for the St. Thomas Center for Microgrid Research

Associated Faculty

Dr. Mahmoud Kabalan

Dr. Mahmoud Kabalan

Dr. Mahmoud Kabalan is the Director of the Center for Microgrid Research. Mahmoud is passionate about using renewable energy sources as a means for a sustainable and just future. His research interest is microgrids which are exciting concepts combining renewable energy sources, power electronics, and electric power systems.
Dr. Mahmoud Kabalan
Dr. Don Weinkauf

Dr. Don Weinkauf

Dr. Don Weinkauf has served as the Dean of Engineering at the University of St Thomas in St. Paul, MN since 2008. He has been honored nationally for his teaching and research as a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Weinkauf worked for Shell Oil Company as a Research Engineer. He is the inventor on 3 U.S. Patents and has been the Principal Investigator on over 5 million dollars in federal, state and corporate research grants.
Dr. Don Weinkauf
Dr. Greg Mowry

Dr. Greg Mowry

Dr. Greg Mowry used his decades of experience in the power sector and with microgrids to custom design the St. Thomas Microgrid facility. He has focused his efforts on power, power electronics, and distributed hybrid alternative energy systems that are useful in industry and in developing countries. His work has resulted in multiple patents for startup companies in the hybrid power systems.
Dr. Greg Mowry