NRECA, Consortium of Electric Co-ops Selected for Microgrid Deployment Funding

ARLINGTON, Va. – NRECA and a consortium of seven electric cooperatives across the country were today selected for negotiations for more than $45 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program.

NRECA’s consortia bids enable smaller co-ops to work together to submit competitive applications for infrastructure funds. This specific consortium project will deploy microgrids to improve grid resilience and reliability in seven rural communities. The participating cooperatives will also leverage their experience to share learnings with other electric co-ops across the country.

“This funding is an important step as electric co-ops work to improve access to affordable and reliable energy in rural America,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “By deploying microgrids in communities across the country, co-ops are exploring new ways to keep the lights on and meet tomorrow’s energy needs.”

A microgrid is a power system that is detached from the main electric grid either full time or for a specific event, like a power outage. The seven consortium participants include:

  • Anza Electric Cooperative, Inc in California.
  • Blue Ridge Energy in North Carolina.
  • Flathead Electric Cooperative, Inc in Montana.
  • Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative in Minnesota.
  • Missoula Electric Cooperative in in Montana.
  • Trico Electric Cooperative in Arizona.
  • Volunteer Electric Cooperative in Tennessee.

Examples of the anticipated impact from the microgrid projects include the potential for annual electricity savings of up to $400,000 in the town of Decatur, Tennessee and an up to 70% reduction in power outages in Cooke City, Montana.  

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $15 billion annually in their communities.