Beyond Coal

Beyond Coal

SunZia: Transmission for renewable energy

SunZia

The Sierra Club and the Rio Grande Chapter have identified as an overarching priority the fight against global warming.

To stimulate investments in renewable energy production, renewable-rich areas like central New Mexico need transmission lines to deliver renewable power to customers across the west.

The Rio Grande Chapter believes renewable-energy transmission projects are good for stimulating clean energy in New Mexico. We also believe in making sure these projects are planned and built to strict environmental standards. We want the bar set high.


PNM’s Plan for Plant Does Little To Help Environment

SJGS © WildEarth Guardians

Originally published in the Albuquerque Journal on March 29
By David Van Winkle / Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club

Over the past year, Public Service Company of New Mexico has criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s work in New Mexico, claiming that the EPA’s plan to reduce nitrous-oxide emissions and protect New Mexico’s environment would cost much more than needed, would raise electricity rates the equivalent of one monthly electricity bill each year and would hurt New Mexico’s low-income customers.

The Journal endorsed this view in an editorial on March 8: “State Coal Plant Plan Makes Long-Term Sense.” … There are some facts missing from the storyline.

First is that PNM’s own rate increases in the last few years, on behalf of its shareholders, have increased electric rates the equivalent of five monthly electric bills. No mention by PNM of low-income customers in that regard.


Sierra Club Reaches Legal Settlement Obligating Utility PNM, San Juan Coal Company to Clean Up Water Pollution from Coal Facilities

Coal Waste

Sierra Club Calls on PNM to Move New Mexico Beyond Coal to Clean Energy

Albuquerque, NM -- Today the Sierra Club reached a legal settlement obligating the utility Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and San Juan Coal Company (a subsidiary of BHP Billiton, Ltd.) to stop ground and surface water contamination that the group alleges comes from toxic coal ash waste and other sources at the San Juan Coal Mine and San Juan Generating Station coal-fired power plant. The settlement obligates the companies to build structures including a “slurry wall” and a recovery trench to prevent contaminants from traveling toward the San Juan River, pumping the pollution instead into a lined storage pond.


While We Pay More, PNM Produces Lame Excuses

Solar PV installation

By Dexter Coolidge and Sanders Moore, Director of Environment New Mexico - Published in the Albuquerque Journal on March 21, 2012

When we switch on a light or turn on the TV at night, most of us aren’t thinking about where the power comes from or why it costs what it does. But a recent report on New Mexico’s largest utility, PNM, was a reminder that it’s worth finding out.

The average New Mexico resident is paying PNM $250 more each year for electricity since 2008. It turns out that the great majority of this (79 percent) has gone toward huge increases in PNM corporate profits. By comparison, PNM directed less than 6 percent of the rate increases toward clean-energy development or energy-efficiency programs that benefit New Mexicans.


EPA releases draft Carbon Pollution Standard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2012
CONTACT: Shrayas Jatkar, 505-459-2718, shrayas.jatkar@sierraclub.org

New Mexicans Can “Breathe A Little Easier” Thanks to EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard
Local Groups and Citizens Express Support for New Safeguards that Will Hold Industrial Polluters Accountable and Help Protect New Mexico Communities’ Health


Court denies attempt by Gov. Martinez and PNM to stall pollution controls for coal-burning plant

SJGS © WildEarth Guardians

March 1 - DENVER – A federal court ruled today that PNM must comply with a decision last fall requiring the utility to install pollution controls to significantly cut the 16,000 tons a year of harmful haze, ozone, and fine particle-producing nitrogen pollution that pours from the smokestacks each year at the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington, N.M.


PNM rate increases fuel soaring profits

SJGS © WildEarth Guardians

New Report Finds New Mexico Utility PNM Used Huge Rate Hikes
on Residents to Fuel Soaring Profits During Recession

Little spent toward clean energy or efficiency for New Mexicans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - February 28, 2012 - The Sierra Club, New Energy Economy, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Diné CARE, and Southwest Organizing Project released a report today finding that New Mexico’s largest utility, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), has aggressively pursued major increases in electricity rates, corporate profits, and executive pay during a period of economic hardship for many residents.


The Sierra Club and Natural Gas

02/02/2012 From Michael Brune, Executive Director

Have you ever had to turn away millions of dollars? It sounds crazy, but here's why the Sierra Club chose to do exactly that.

In 2010, soon after I became the organization's executive director, I learned that beginning in 2007 the Sierra Club had received more than $26 million from individuals or subsidiaries of Chesapeake Energy, one of the country's largest natural gas companies. At the same time I learned about the donation, we at the Club were also hearing from scientists and from local Club chapters about the risks that natural gas drilling posed to our air, water, climate, and people in their communities. We cannot accept money from an industry we need to change. Very quickly, the board of directors, with my strong encouragement, cut off these donations and rewrote our gift acceptance policy. Let me tell you how it came about.


PNM Financial Reports and Analysis

PNM Analysis (by David Van Winkle):

  • Residential rates have increased by 41% from 2008, with 1% of this due to energy efficiency and none due to renewable energy.
  • PNM Resources, the parent company of PNM Electric, sold a Texas business for $270M in November 2011 and the Board authorized the company to buy back $230M of shares. 80% of PNMR shares are owned by financial institutions.
  • Compensation for the top five executives was $8.3M in 2010, up by 68% since 2008.
  • All of their strategic goals are shareholder improvements. None related to customers, rate payers, employees, or the environment.
  • Earnings before taxes have increased from $6M in 2008 to about $150M in 2012, an increase of 2500%.
  • Base rates have increased by $182M from 2008 to 2012.
  • 79% of the base rate increase has gone to improving profits.

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