Introduction to Perfect Power at Mesa del Sol
In New Mexico, the Initiative has designed a Perfect Power System for Mesa del Sol, a mixed-use community currently being built on a 20-square-mile parcel of land on the edge of Albuquerque. One of the largest of its kind, this “ultra-sustainable” community is being developed by Forest City Covington and will feature solar energy and EnergyStar homes. It also has attracted sustainable businesses such as Advent Solar.
The Galvin Electricity Initiative has partnered with the state of New Mexico and their Green Grid Initiative, Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDA), Energy Control (under the leadership of Galvin consultant Jack McGowan) and others to help turn Mesa del Sol and other communities into models for modern electricity distribution. These organizations, in partnership, have aggressively pursued support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with results to be announced soon.
In considering Perfect Power for the community, the Initiative brought Public Service New Mexico (PNM) and local government officials to the table with the developer. The design that emerged will reduce the development’s projected electricity load by 30 percent to 60 MW through the use of energy-efficient buildings, solar energy, and demand-response technologies.
The design builds on the many Perfect Power elements already in use by PNM, such as redundancy in supply and transmission as well as underground wires. To this foundation the Mesa del Sol Perfect Power System adds advanced metering infrastructure and demand-response capabilities; automation and communication systems to isolate faults; and solar ready-components, distributed generation and energy storage at the residential level, in addition to a very high energy-efficiency standard that would apply to all buildings in the development.
As with the Perfect Power System at IIT, the energy savings inherent in Perfect Power will enable the system to pay for itself over the development’s 30-year timeline for buildout.
The Initiative also is currently exploring regulatory policy changes that would yield additional financing options for the project. New state legislation that directs utilities and the Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) to consider the price of carbon in energy decisions reinforces the importance of efficiency and renewable energy in Mesa del Sol.