A LONG HISTORY OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) is a member-owned Electric Distribution Cooperative serving Taos, Colfax, and Rio Arriba Counties since 1944. For the past seventy-five years, KCEC has been providing electricity to its over 29,000 members. Through employment opportunities, KCEC, its division – Kit Carson Internet and its subsidiary – Kit Carson Energy, Inc., the coop supports approximately 125 families.
KCEC has been a community leader in economic development for decades. In the 1990s, the electrical deregulation movement brought unprecedented changes to the utility industry which opened the door for KCEC to offer new infrastructure services such as propane and internet. KCEC first established wireless internet than with the help of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, built over 2900 miles of fiber optic line for high-speed internet and phone services.
In 2002, KCEC took the lead to become “The Solar Capital of the World” as was coined by a community member. KCEC has been building its solar capacity ever since. The first arrays were at the main offices, UNM Taos campus, Taos Charter School, EcoPark, Blue Sky and KTAO.
In December 2016, the KCEC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to create a plan to achieve the goal of 100% daytime solar by 2022.
In 2016, KCEC made its move on the historic buy out from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association which limited coops to 5% solar energy production as a sole source energy provider. In July 2016, KCEC partnered with Guzman Energy, an independent energy provider. As a result, KCEC is leading in the development and implementation of a new utility business model.
KCEC in its partnership with Guzman Renewable Energy Partners (GREP) has strategically designed a solar deployment plan within the Kit Carson Service territory to meet the Board and community goals. The project builds on the accomplishments KCEC has made installing solar arrays over the past twelve years. Currently, KCEC in partnership with Guzman Energy will have strategically a total of 10MW of solar PV in 2018. The goal of 35MW which will provide 100% daytime solar energy will be complete by 2022. KCEC is committed to the development of renewable energy, the creation of local jobs in our community, and energy cost stabilization.
Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) is committed to providing north central New Mexico with reliable renewable energy.
Together these elements will be the pilot project for a Resilient Renewable Energy Roadmap for Rural Electric Cooperatives. This roadmap is the formal project of KCEC’s work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Energy Innovation Network.
KCEC is the second largest cooperative in the State of New Mexico. There are 16 electric distribution cooperatives in New Mexico, 15 of which are members of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Ten of the 15-member distribution cooperatives receive wholesale power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association headquartered in Westminster, Colorado. Four are members of Western Farmers Electric Cooperative headquartered in Anadarko, Oklahoma; and one distribution cooperative, KCEC, receives power from an independent wholesale power supplier.
There are also three electric distribution cooperatives that are associate members of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association. They are Duncan Valley Electric, Duncan, Arizona; Navopache Electric, Lakeside, Arizona; and Rio Grande Electric, Brackettville, Texas.
The old KCEC Building was renovated and a new KCEC facility was constructed with additional space to include a 10,000 square foot building to help provide economic development to Taos County. The building included all new offices, an in-house billing room, two efficiencies to house standby employees, and plenty of space for expansion. The cooperative also constructed satellite offices in all five of the districts it serves.