ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – America’s top energy official is making several stops in Albuquerque Wednesday to promote renewable energy projects. At a first stop, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited an Albuquerque apartment complex, which was recently revamped with a handful of energy efficient improvements.
The DOE secretary’s visit to Albuquerque is part of a broader visit to New Mexico as the Biden administration looks to promote its renewable energy initiatives. The administration is also trying to highlight infrastructure investments ahead of votes in Congress to fund other parts of Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda.
Granholm toured an apartment unit at the Casa Shalom apartments in Albuquerque’s International District this morning, near Zuni and Wyoming. That complex was highlighted for work by several local agencies to replace inefficient appliances among other measures. Some of the work at the apartments included resealing windows in the units, installing new electrical appliances, water-saving showerheads, LED lightbulbs and new insulation.
The Casa Shalom development is co-operative housing community. Much of the recent energy improvements were funded in part through by a 100,000 dollar grant from the City of Albuquerque. The Biden Administration is expected push for more federal funding for energy efficiency projects through budget reconciliation processes.
“If we can get this reconciliation bill passed, and it’s a big lift, but we could see as much as 10-billion dollars additional in point of sale rebates (for energy efficient device purchases)” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a democrat representing New Mexico. “What that does is, say you have a technology like air-source heat-pump water heaters that are a few hundred dollars more expensive than the gas water heater, that (rebate) levels (the cost of the water heater) out, so you save from day one, every month you’re paying less on your utility bills, and that saves the resident in perpetuity into the future.”
Highlighting the costs Americans pay for food, child care, rent, transportation and energy, Secretary Granholm said “it’s super expensive to be low income,” and that the Biden Administration wants to “fix that problem.” Granholm said electrifying appliances and sealing up homes is a big step, highlighting the 3.5-billion dollars for additional funds in weatherization assistance that was approved in the most recent infrastructure bill
“In the second step, I know Senator Heinrich and Senator Van Hollen have a combined effort to put much more money into electrifying homes, like billions and billions more,” Secretary Granholm said. “So between the two, there will be significant federal assistance in addition to the assistance that all of these these other units of government and entities are providing.”
After visiting the “home electrification demonstration” in the International District, Secretary Granholm is expected to continue to visit other Albuquerque sites including Pajarito Power for a look at hydrogen technology, then Kairos Power to look at nuclear-related technology. She’ll wrap up Monday with a “renewable energy transmission roundtable” in Albuquerque. Granholm is visiting New Mexico for two days.
The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible in for the oversight of 17 national labs across the country, including Sandia Labs and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Prior to serving as DOE Secretary, Granholm was the governor of the state of Michigan between 2003 and 2011.