San Miguel Power Association, an electric cooperative based in Ridgway and Nucla, recently partnered with San Miguel County to install a microgrid. A microgrid is an “island” system with electricity sources that can operate independently to provide electricity when the greater grid loses power.
SMPA helped the county apply for a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant and it received $1.1 million to build two solar PV and energy storage microgrid systems. The co-op helped the county with solar and battery system design support, critical load determination, grant writing support, beneficial electrification rebates and interconnection and net-metering agreements
These innovative microgrid projects benefit two crucial parts of the San Miguel County sheriff’s department: the annex building in Norwood and the Ilium sheriff office near Telluride. These two sites are perfect examples of how microgrids can maintain 100% reliability for mission-critical loads. Mission-critical loads for the two sites were defined as building lighting, receptacles, communications and internet, control rooms, IT servers and radio rooms, and protective custody and lock systems.
The resiliency these microgrids provide the county offers peace of mind and security for the county during crises, outages and emergency situations, such as the myriad disasters Mother Nature can serve up in the mountain areas SMPA serves.