September 19, 2014

Udall, Heinrich Announce $14 Million for Rural Electric Infrastructure

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the Springer Electric Cooperative Inc. will receive more than $14 million in guaranteed loans to improve the delivery of electric power to rural New Mexico communities.

The Springer Electric Cooperative Inc. will receive $14,117,000 to build a photovoltaic facility to supply usable solar power, to build and improve 74 miles of distribution lines, and make other improvements. The loan includes $518,400 for smart grid projects, and $3.4 million for the renewable solar energy project.

"We must ensure that all New Mexicans have access to affordable energy, regardless of where they live, and on the Appropriations committee, I've pushed for funding for rural cooperatives like Springer Electric," Udall said. "These funds will enhance our electric grid with improvements that will help to lower New Mexico customers' electric bills and ensure that all rural communities in our state maintain reliable access to electricity and increased access to renewable energy."

"This federal assistance will help to improve energy transmission and production while keeping bills low for rural families in northern New Mexico," Heinrich said. "With more than 300 days of sunlight per year, New Mexico is the perfect place to make investments in solar generation and this effort represents another important step forward for our clean energy economy."

The loan was made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has invested in infrastructure improvements throughout the country. Since 2009, USDA's Rural Utilities Service has funded 17 projects with loans of over $371 million to provide businesses and residential customers in New Mexico with reliable electric service.

The Springer Electric Cooperative serves 1,965 customers in the counties of Colfax, Harding, Mora, San Miguel and Union.