November 04, 2009

Bingaman, Udall, Luján Applaud Announcement of Recovery Funding for Northern New Mexico Hydropower Plant

Washington, DC – Today, Senators Jeff Bingaman, Tom Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Luján applauded the announcement of up to $4.56 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for a hydropower project in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The funding will add a low flow turbine/generator to the 13.8 megawatt (MW) hydroelectric plant in Abiquiu, increasing the total plant capacity by 3 MW and allowing the dam to operate when releases are below or above the capacity of the two existing turbines. The upgrade will increase annual generation by 6,462 MWh (22% increase). The project’s environmental benefits include higher dissolved oxygen content in downstream water and increased minimum flows. The funding will be distributed through the Department of Energy to the Incorporated County of Los Alamos.

“Development of additional hydropower resources at Abiquiu Reservoir will create jobs while expanding the development of clean, renewable energy in New Mexico. I’m also pleased that these improvements – which have been needed for some time -- will be completed in a manner that does not affect water flows, recreation at Abiquiu Reservoir, or have any negative environmental impacts,” Bingaman said.

“Upgrading the hydropower system at Abiquiu dam will bring new jobs to the community and generate clean energy,” said Udall. “Investing in the existing infrastructure now will keep the system up to date to help meet the needs of those who benefit from the renewable energy it generates.”

“I am pleased that the hydroelectric plant in Abiquiu was selected to receive this funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” said Luján. “Hydropower provides an excellent source of renewable energy and this funding will significantly increase the amount of clean energy Abiquiu’s hydroelectric plant can produce. Not only will this project is support environmental sustainability in New Mexico, it will stimulate economic growth and activity in the local community.”