Clean Energy Solutions

Clean Energy Solutions

PRC keeps renewables rule — sort of

Solar Home

By Mona Blaber

We asked you to help protect renewable energy in New Mexico, and you responded — in force.

In April, after the Public Regulation Commission agreed to rehear the Reasonable Cost Threshold rule that enforces New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Act, the Rio Grande Chapter asked supporters to submit comments urging the commission not to weaken the rule.


Community solar for Santa Fe?

Community Supported Solar Project, Taos - Teresa Seamster

By Teresa Seamster, Northern New Mexico Group and Esha Chiocchio, Santa Fe Watershed Association

Santa Fe Community Solar Garden – the name conjures up a sunny field with upturned solar panels collecting the daily requirement of energy for the people who live here. A few acres planted in panels and clean fixed-cost energy for the next 50 years. The image is not far-fetched.


Sierra Club activists put heat on Martinez, PRC

GotSolNotCoalProtest.jpg

By Shrayas Jatkar
Beyond Coal organizing representative

Many things led to the acknowledgement by PNM and the Martinez administration that coal is the fuel of the past.

Without the constant public pressure exerted by Rio Grande Chapter members and friends, the decision to reduce the deadly coal pollution at San Juan Generating Station simply would not have happened.

New Mexico’s Beyond Coal to Clean Energy campaign included national program staff, local volunteers, and diverse partner groups.


PNM targets renewables rule

By John Buchser
Chapter chair

Most of us would be happy to learn that the mix of fuels powering our TVs and refrigerators is moving toward sun and wind and away from water-guzzling coal and nuclear plants.

New Mexico has a law requiring that gradual transition to renewable energy, because as we all know, the health and safety of our kids and New Mexico’s drought-prone climate depend on it.

Which is why the Rio Grande Chapter is working to stop PNM and other industry forces from rewriting the rule that enforces that law.


Deal would reduce millions of tons of carbon dioxide, but where’s the renewable energy?

Coal - San Juan

By Shrayas Jatkar
Beyond Coal organizing representative

The state of New Mexico and PNM announced that they had struck a major deal with the Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 15 regarding the future of the San Juan Generating Station, a 40-year-old coal-burning power plant near Farmington. Key elements of the deal are to close two of the four coal-burning units by the end of 2017 while putting pollution controls on the remaining two units to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and other toxic pollutants.


Member Story: House Savings

Norma Reyes

Member Story: House Savings

Four years ago, I started greening my house as I made needed repairs. First I replaced the main windows with double-pane, energy-saving windows (which also reduced outside noise considerably). I have followed up with Energy Star toilets (rebate water credit paid for them entirely), showerheads, refrigerator, dishwasher and entry door. I’ve also installed an energy efficient garage door and put a thermal blanket on the water heater.


Solar Saves the Day

photo by Ken Hughes

Solar System kept water pumping when fire knocked out other power
(From the New Mexico Energy and Minerals Department)

RUIDOSO, N.M. – A solar photovoltaic system installed by the Sun Valley Water and Sanitation District kept the water pumping to volunteer firefighters fighting the Little Bear Fire when all other power in the area was lost.


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.


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.


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