New Mexico energy department funds data center to manage renewables on grid

GameChange Solar

The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s (EMNRD) Energy Conservation and Management Division (ECMD) has announced the inaugural demonstration project of the Grid Modernization Program. Eligible projects will implement or test grid modernization technology that could be widely adopted to lead to a modern and secure power grid. ECMD is providing funding to the City of Albuquerque’s Municipal Development Department, the Department of Energy and Sustainability Management (ESMD), to build the Balanced Resource Acquisition and Information Network (BRAIN). BRAIN is a data center and computing platform that provides the city with real-time insight into existing and future sources for energy storage, renewable generation and building management. With the innovation BRAIN, the city envisions a more resilient energy system. The project is an example of how the electricity grid can be made more energy efficient and flexible.

“The City of Albuquerque’s BRAIN Project kicks off its grant program for grid modernization with smart technology and data implementation that will solve grid problems,” said EMNRD Cabinet Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst.

A modern power grid is needed for New Mexico to achieve deep decarbonization, take advantage of the state’s abundant renewable resources, boost economic growth, and improve the lives of its residents by lowering carbon emissions and opening up opportunities for New Mexicans. to participate in the energy transition. The Electric Grid Modernization Roadmap and Grant Program Act of 2020 will enable EMNRD to support pilot projects that make improvements to electricity distribution or transmission infrastructure to improve the reliability of the electricity distribution or transmission network, network security, demand response, customer service or energy efficiency. improve efficiency. Eligible applicants include municipalities and provincial governments; state agencies; state universities; public schools; post-secondary education institutions; and Indian nations, tribes and pueblos.

The 2020 law also set criteria for evaluating projects, including economic impact and broader educational opportunities.

“The BRAIN initiative requires modern mechanical (HVAC) systems and control engineers to power Albuquerque’s and similar systems statewide,” said Saif Ismail, Albuquerque’s Energy and Sustainability Manager. In addition, Ismail said, “The ESMD and BRAIN will be a community ‘learning lab’ with a focus on real-time transparency of energy performance for residents of the city of Albuquerque and the state at large.”

The project will cost $580,000. Combining a state allocation for FY21 with funding from the federal state energy program formula, ECMD covers approximately 52% of the total. The City of Albuquerque is funding 38% and the city’s local subcontractor, Mountain Vector, will contribute 10% toward free work hours.

The BRAIN project is expected to be completed by June 30, 2022. ECMD will continue to review and approve proposals under the existing application request. All approved projects are placed in a queue pending future funding.

News item from EMNRD

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