'Microgrids, Storage, and Cybersecurity at the Community Level'

Matthew Backes featured speaker at Luther College Dec. 5

Matthew Backes, an MIT research engineer, will discuss the ins and outs of "Microgrids, Storage, and Cybersecurity at the Community Level" at the final Decorah Power Learning Series event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Valders Hall of Science Room 206 on the Luther College campus. The event is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Backes is an Elkader native who recently completed his Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a bachelor's degree in the same field from Iowa State University in 2015, where he was selected as the top outstanding graduate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

Backes' interest in power and energy systems led to undergraduate research assignments at Iowa State, the University of California-Berkeley, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Energy Systems Group. In graduate school, his research activities centered around improving substation protection and automation security.

With the support of the Decorah City Council, local citizens group Decorah Power is conducting a feasibility study with privately raised funds to explore the creation of a Municipal Electric Utility in Decorah. The MEU would be a locally owned, city utility providing electricity services in the same way it provides water and sewer services. According to Decorah Power, there are 2,011 municipal electric utilities in the U.S., 136 of which are in Iowa. Iowa also has 44 rural electric cooperatives. 

The Decorah Power Learning Series is designed to educate the community on the opportunities and challenges in creating a Municipal Electric Utility in Decorah. The feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Luther College has pledged $15,000 toward the study.

For more information about Decorah Power and the other Decorah Power Fall Learning Series events, visit www.decorahpower.org.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.