APS looking to reduce energy footprint

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools are set to discuss moving forward with a new energy-saving plan. The district says one of their high school’s electric bill is costing taxpayers too much.

Atrisco Heritage Academy in the southwest part of town is only 11 years old, but is home to roughly 2,600 students. It’s also home to the district’s most costly electric bill. APS said Atrisco’s energy bill costs them $50,000 a month, mostly due to higher energy demand in the area during peak hours.

“That’s outrageous, that’s crazy,” said local Armando Piro.

That’s a lot compared to other area high schools. According to the district’s energy costs per year, Atrisco takes the top spot with $354,662.64, followed by Volcano Vista High School with $273,378.08. Then, Albuquerque High School with $227,162.04. The least expensive is Valley High School, with $151,147.48. Just to power all 13 high schools in the district, costs taxpayers a pretty penny: $2.7 million a year.

“They need to start with solar,” said local Brent Emerson.

That’s an idea the district is considering. A committee will look at different proposals and designs for a battery energy storage system at Atrisco High. The panels would store energy at night and then use that energy at peak times during the day.

People who KRQE News 13 spoke with said they support any idea that will cut taxpayers a break.

“It would not only benefit them, it would benefit us as well,” said Emerson.

“It’s 2019, why wouldn’t we be going that route?” asked Piro. “We have it in most of our homes now, public buildings should be no exemption.”

However, it won’t be as simple as flipping a light switch to do this project. The district is looking at spending up to $900,000 for those improvements, which is money they don’t have after voters rejected the big bond election in February.

The district declined to speak with KRQE News 13 before Monday’s meeting.

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