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Heinrich, Luján, Leger Fernández Welcome $26.7 Million Federal Investment in Northern N.M. Grid Infrastructure

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) welcomed $26.7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program for two projects in northern New Mexico as part of the largest federal investment in America’s electric grid in history.

The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) is receiving $ 15.4 million to deploy Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) and microgrid capabilities to three locations. Due to the rural, geographically and demographically diverse nature of its service territory, KCEC is especially vulnerable to impacts of power outages across the region from threat of wildfire, extreme drought, and high wind events. These new BESS and microgrid solutions will allow KCEC to perform public safety power shutoffs while maintaining critical loads and services locally and enable communities to “island” in the event of an unplanned utility outage.

The Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative (MSMEC) is receiving $11.3 million to launch a wildfire damage mitigation project to leverage innovative, modern grid technologies to harden MSMEC’s grid and ultimately avoid, withstand, and quickly recover from power disruptions. This project includes enhanced vegetation management, distribution automation, and advanced grid hardening equipment. With this transformation, MSMEC will build resilience against wildfires and other climactic events and improve its ability to respond to increases in energy demand.

"New Mexicans have seen how vulnerable our power systems are to wildfires and other natural disasters,” said Heinrich. “These historic federal investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help our rural electric coops harden their grid infrastructure against extreme weather disruptions and ensure our communities can keep the lights on during wildfires and other emergencies.” 

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to make a difference across the country and in New Mexico – helping our state’s infrastructure be more resilient to natural disasters,”said Luján. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in welcoming this much-needed investment that will help modernize our electric grid to withstand climate change. As our communities continue to recover from the impacts of wildfire disasters, this investment to Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative will address wildfire recovery by investing in mitigation projects to help reduce power outages.” 

“Local energy providers keep the lights on in our homes, our schools, and our small businesses. I’m excited Kit Carson Electric and Mora-San Miguel Electric will receive over $26 million to fortify New Mexico’s power grid and improve our infrastructure as we continue to recover from the Hermit’s Peak fire,” said Leger Fernández. “I voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make these investments in rural America possible. This is what it looks like to build a brighter, more prosperous future.”

Today’s announcement of $3.46 billion for 58 projects across 44 states represent a first round of selections under the broader $10.5 billion Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program that was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These infrastructure projects will enhance grid flexibility, improve the resilience of the power system against growing threats of extreme weather and climate change, and ensure American communities have access to affordable, reliable, clean electricity when and where they need it.

More information about the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative award can be found in this fact sheet.

More information about the Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative award can be found in this fact sheet.