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Grid Modernization Grant Program Success

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Funded Grid Modernization Projects

2022-2023 Northern New Mexico College
Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) El Rito campus is served by Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC). The community of El Rito is located at the end of a single electric power distribution line that traverses mountainous terrain and wilderness and is subject to reliability and resilience challenges common to rural isolated areas. In response, the Resilient El Rito (RER) project was developed as a collaboration between NNMC and KCEC to facilitate the design and building of the RER Community Microgrid. In fiscal year 2023, ECMD awarded funding through the State Energy Program to NNMC to complete the community microgrid feasibility and design studies.

The RER community microgrid design incorporates a NNMC campus microgrid within a larger community microgrid envelope based on KCEC’s local distribution feeder, in a “networked” or “nested” architecture. In the event of an outage, critical loads comprising adjacent public facilities (i.e., water and communication infrastructure, fire station, medical clinic, and YDI facility) and campus critical loads would be supported indefinitely. The existing 1.5 Mega-watts (MW) PV array located on the NNMC Campus will serve as the primary local generation source along with an 80 kW generator to be complemented by a proposed 2 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and backup 100 kilowatts (kW) propane generator. Not only will this microgrid serve the community during an outage it demonstrates the potential of utility microgrids for rural electric cooperative state-wide and will provide an unparalleled workforce training environment for NNMC’s students.

Total Grid Modernization Grant Program Funding: $219,989.00 (federal State Energy Program funding)

2021-2022 City of Albuquerque

In fiscal year 2022, EMNRD awarded funding to the City of Albuquerque for a Balanced Resource Acquisition and Information Network (BRAIN) data center and computer platform. The BRAIN, initiated by the city and built with the technical support of Albuquerque-based Mountain Vector, is an automated energy, water, renewables, and asset management data interface.

The City’s Energy and Sustainability Management Division (ESMD) manages over 4,818 metered utility accounts, nearly 39 MW of solar, 9 battery installations and 56 building management systems across over 600 facilities. The vision for the BRAIN platform is to ensure all the data and connectivity is established in one place.

The BRAIN’s primary benefits to the grid currently are capturing energy usage data and enabling real-time demand response. The BRAIN can automatically trigger a ‘change of state’ or ‘control command’ to the assets and resources to which it is connected. Through the BRAIN, city energy managers can execute a pre-programmed asset response when prompted by PNM. Pre-cooling, temperature setbacks, discharging a behind the meter battery, dimming lights, interrupting an EV charging station are all examples of possible ‘control commands’ that can initiate from the BRAIN to interact with the grid.

According to Saif Ismail, Energy and Sustainability Division Manager,

“The City can now manage assets with speed and agility to perform interactively with the modern grid with a 100% renewable energy footprint. This will result in optimal use of City resources, reduced cost, reduced waste, cleaner air, and better stewardship, transparency, energy education, and economic development opportunities for our community.”

The project represents a team effort between the State, the City of Albuquerque, Mountain Vector, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), and the numerous vendors that participated by allowing the city to capture real-time data.

“PNM supports the overall goals and concepts of the City of Albuquerque’s Balanced Resource Acquisition and Information Network (BRAIN) in enabling real time visibility, flexibility and responsiveness with existing and future energy storage, generation and building control resources to benefit the public, the City’s critical systems and infrastructure, and thereby furthering the State’s energy policy.”

Total Project Cost: $600,000

Total Grid Modernization Grant Program Funding: $301,000 (includes federal State Energy Program funding allocation of $250,000 and a state allocation of $51,000)

Images courtesy of City of Albuquerque, Energy & Sustainability Management Division.