Public Regulation Commission renewables rule safe for now

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By Mona Blaber, Chapter communications coordinator, 03/24/14
The yearlong saga involving the rule that enforces New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Act could conclude soon, with a happy ending.
As you know, last year the Public Regulation Commission considered rulemaking changes that would have weakened enforcement of New Mexico’s law requiring utilities to provide 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020.
The changes were requested by, among others, New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers (NMIEC), which includes Intel, UNM and the city of Albuquerque.
Thousands of you responded to this threat by contacting your commissioners and asking them to deny the changes.
Still, the commission — despite opposing votes by Commissioners Karen Montoya and Valerie Espinoza — approved damaging changes in November.
The Rio Grande Chapter protested the decision’s effects publicly, highlighting NMIEC’s role and calling on UNM, Albuquerque and Intel to withdraw.
Both the commission and NMIEC took notice. The commission revoked the worst changes in December, and then vacated them entirely by agreeing to rehear the rule.
NMIEC has now told the commission it will support keeping the restored rule as is.
The commission could still rehear the rule and again weaken our renewable-energy requirements. But without advocacy for changes from NMIEC and the attorney general, it’s possible that the commission will simply leave the current rule intact.
We’ll keep you updated on developments. While the current rule isn’t perfect, the proposed changes would likely have slashed renewable percentages in New Mexico. And as it stands now, all three large New Mexico utilities are on target to reach 15 percent renewable energy by 2015.
This progress would not have happened without your participation and input. Thank you!