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CEO Column: Fire Mitigation 2024


Trico secures $700,000 grant for fire mitigation and grid resilience

July 1, 2024

Trico has received a significant boost in its effort to enhance fire mitigation and grid resilience on Mt. Lemmon, thanks to a recent $700,000 grant awarded by a federal infrastructure funding program. The grant, part of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Grid Resilience Innovation Partnership (GRIP) program, will support Trico’s initiatives aimed at bolstering the region’s wildfire prevention measures and ensuring the reliability of its power grid infrastructure.

The award comes as part of a larger consortium bid led by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and involves 39 electric co-ops from across the country. There were about 700 applicants for GRIP funding and less than 10% of projects were selected. The consortium’s projects will accelerate the completion of high-priority wildfire mitigation projects at co-ops nationwide, with Trico being among the beneficiaries.

Trico has identified the Mt. Lemmon area as a high-hazard zone for wildfires, with three significant fires occurring in the last 20 years alone. The devastating impact of the Bighorn Fire in 2020, caused by a lightning strike, prompted Trico to take proactive measures to mitigate future wildfire risks in the region.

Trico will allocate the grant funds towards fire mitigation work, right-of-way clearing, and the installation of fire-resistant wrapping on power poles across Mt. Lemmon. These efforts, combined with continued vegetation management and maintenance, aim to reduce the likelihood of wildfire ignition and mitigate the risk of damage from all wildfires.

Moreover, the enhanced resilience of Trico’s power grid infrastructure will ensure reliability service to key communications assets, including radio, television, and communications towers, that serve Tucson and Southern Arizona. The project’s scope also extends to protecting the Members, homes, and businesses served by Trico, as well as preserving the valuable natural environment on Mt. Lemmon.

This ongoing effort underscores Trico’s commitment to balancing the preservation of the natural environment with ensuring reliable electricity supply to its Members. Trico’s engagement with the community underscores its dedication to fostering a culture of preparedness and collaboration. Trico recently hosted a Summer Preparedness Town Hall on June 15, 2024, at the Mt. Lemmon Community Center. The event provided an opportunity for community members to discuss fire risk mitigation strategies and receive updates on Trico’s initiatives to enhance wildfire resilience in the region.

The GRIP grant will benefit Mt. Lemmon and it is also an example of how Trico works hard to find innovative ways to contain costs (grants, low-interest loans, forgivable loans, etc.). These savings provide benefits to all Members. Trico is committed to ensuring the reliability of power supply while safeguarding our community and, as always, we are dedicated to serving you, our Members.

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Trico Employee Helps Save a Life


Trico employee, who is a volunteer Firefighter and EMT, helps save a life

July 1, 2024

Trico Senior Distribution Designer Deidra Tulk is a volunteer Firefighter and EMT with the Benson Fire Department and also works part time for Healthcare Innovations, the ambulance company that serves the Benson area.

On February 2, 2024, Deidra and four other first responders received a call for medical assistance at the local Walmart. As they arrived, the patient went into cardiac arrest, and they immediately began CPR. They continued CPR while the patient was transported to Benson Hospital, where the patient regained a pulse and was stabilized until they could be transported to a Tucson hospital. Within 36 hours the patient was sitting in their room in the ICU talking with their doctors, and then discharged within a few days.

On May 13, 2024, the Benson City Council recognized the five first responders for their efforts and presented them with CPR Life Saver awards.

“It feels a little bit weird to be recognized for doing a job I signed up for, but it’s been humbling how many people show their appreciation, especially as a volunteer,” Deidra said.

Caption: Deidra Tulk and four other first responders were presented with CPR Life Saver awards from the Benson City Council.

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Summer Monsoon Season Preparation


We’re ready for summer monsoon season

June 10, 2024

With the summer storm season approaching, Trico is implementing extra procedures to minimize the impact of power outages on our Members. 

To help support our Members during outages and times of excessive heat, Trico is implementing a Community Care Team made up of employees to distribute water, ice, and other necessary items. The Community Care Team will respond in situations where outages are projected to last more than a few hours and affect numerous Members.

We encourage Members to be prepared in the event of a power outage by following these storm safety tips:

  • If you experience a power outage, check our outage map at trico.coop/outages for the latest updates. Sign up for outage notifications.
  • High winds may bring power lines down. If you encounter downed lines while driving, turn around. Lines may still be energized. Never drive near or over them.
  • Heavy storms and rainfall have the potential to create flash floods. If you encounter standing water while driving, turn around and find a safer route.
  • Make sure your cellphone and portable power banks are charged and ready to go.
  • Stay informed by following us on social media at facebook.com/TricoElectricAZ, instagram.com/TricoElectricAZ and twitter.com/TricoElectricAZ.

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CEO Column: A Big Win for Trico Members


Trico is awarded $83.5 million to fund four renewable energy and battery projects

April 1, 2024

Trico was one of five cooperatives across the country selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move forward in the award process for the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program.

Trico’s projects include the following:

Arivaca Rural Microgrid: A microgrid with 3MW of solar generation and 3MW/12MWh of battery storage capacity, designed to serve the load of approximately 620 residents in Arivaca. A microgrid is a power system that can be detached from the main electric grid either full time or for a specific event, like a power outage. This project is designed to use renewable energy and battery technology to improve reliability and resilience, especially during extreme weather events like monsoons. Trico also received a $7 million grant from the Department of Energy for this project.

Trico Standalone Battery Energy Storage System: This 10MW/40MWh battery storage system will help Trico manage its peaks and save Members money by charging the battery when solar energy is plentiful and prices are low, and discharging energy during peaks when market prices are high. The project will be located on the northwest side of Trico’s service territory where rapid growth is increasing demand.

Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility II: A facility with 10MW of solar generation and 10MW/40MWh of battery storage capacity. The project will be located near Trico’s existing Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility in Marana and will be capable of powering about 2,500 homes. 

Valencia Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility: A facility with 10MW of solar generation and 10MW/40MWh of battery storage capacity. The project will be located near Trico’s Valencia Substation and will be capable of powering about 2,500 homes.

Trico expects to develop and build the PACE projects over the next five years working with regional partners and the community to locate the projects and maximize their effectiveness. Development work will start immediately.

PACE is a big win for Trico Members and we are excited to be working with USDA and Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The projects Trico is planning to build will provide cost‑effective, sustainable energy solutions and benefit our Members for decades to come.

Captions:

In support of Trico’s $83.5 million Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) award, Trico Staff and Board welcomed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Dr. Basil Gooden to Trico’s headquarters on March 14, 2024. Trico provided a tour of the Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility to Under Secretary Gooden, USDA officials, and local and statewide representatives.

Top right: Under Secretary Dr. Basil Gooden (center) with Eric Hawkins, Trico COO and General Counsel, and Brian Heithoff, Trico CEO and GM, tours Trico’s Avion Solar and Battery Energy Storage Facility. Bottom right: Following the tour, Trico hosted a roundtable discussion regarding Trico’s four clean energy PACE projects.

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Fall 2023 POWER Grant Recipients


Six nonprofits receive $35,000 in POWER Grants

February 1, 2024

Trico has awarded a total of $35,000 to six non-profit organizations providing critical services in southern Arizona. The grants are part of Trico’s POWER Grants program and are awarded twice a year to charities throughout our service area.  

Non-profits are selected through an application process and reviewed by a six-person committee made up of Trico employees, Members, and Board Members.

Junior Achievement of Arizona received a grant of $10,000 to provide financial literacy to students at DeGrazia Elementary School in the Marana Unified School District.

Hard Hitters for the Kingdom, Inc., received a grant of $8,000 for the Clean-Start Mobile Shower Program, which provides clean showers, hygiene supplies, clean towels and new clothing to people experiencing homelessness.

Receiving grants of $5,000 each were Gabriel’s Angels, Literacy Connects, and Wheel Fun. Gabriel’s Angels will use the funds for its pet therapy program, which allows children to read to dogs to enhance the child’s social and emotional development. Literacy Connects partners with pediatric clinics to distribute free books to children to encourage families to read together. Wheel Fun offers free after-school mountain bike clubs to students with a focus on rural public schools.

Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation received a $2,000 grant to help pay for extracurricular activities, sports, camps, supplemental clothing, individual academic tutoring and more, for children and youth in Arizona foster care.

In March, the next round of POWER Grants will be available, and Trico will be accepting applications from organizations that provide the following services: Food and Basic Needs, Housing, Health and Mental Care, and Fire and Emergency Response.

Since 2008, the POWER Grant program has awarded $840,000 in grants. POWER Grants are supported by the Trico Electric Charitable Trust, which is funded through Operation Round Up. To learn more about POWER Grants and how to donate to Operation Round Up, visit our website www.trico.coop/power-grants.  

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