Ratepayers rally for renewables outside PNM shareholders meeting

Sierra Club's David Robertson at PNM rally 2014.

For immediate release: May 15, 2014

Albuquerque, NM – Ratepayers rallied outside PNM's annual shareholders meeting this morning, calling on the utility to replace coal power it is retiring at San Juan Generating Station with renewable solar and wind energy.

PNM’s current plan is to replace most of the power by purchasing nuclear power from out of state, more coal from owners who are getting out of San Juan, and natural gas. Only 40 megawatts of more than 900 it is retiring would come from renewable energy.

“Replacing the San Juan coal with mostly wind and solar power would be cheaper and far more responsible than PNM's current plan to bring on more nuclear, coal and natural gas. Not only are renewables better for our health and the climate, but they use much less water than dirty fuels that are putting our future at risk,” said David Robertson of the Sierra Club.

In addition to being better for the climate and water conservation, renewables represent an important opportunity for jobs and economic growth for New Mexico.

“We have an abundance of sun and wind and should be moving our state forward, rather than staying stuck with dirty energy sources that pollute our air and water and harm public health. At the same time, New Mexico is suffering some of the worst job growth in the nation. Renewable energy creates homegrown jobs that can’t be outsourced,” said Sanders Moore of Environment New Mexico.

Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy executive director, said "PNM has only 2% solar in its energy mix despite the fact that we live in the land with the sun zia on our flag. PNM will be closing coal but then plans to buy more coal and import nuclear from Arizona. The whole industry is moving away from coal because it pollutes our air and uses billions of gallons of water. PNM's shareholders can avert the health and environmental costs associated with coal, as well as the financial risks associated with increasing coal and carbon regulation by shifting to renewables -- which are currently cost-competitive."

Tom Solomon of 350.org New Mexico said “New Mexico has enough combined wind and solar resources to literally power the entire United States with electricity if we only invest in building it. PNM should seize this opportunity to build the clean, renewable energy sources that will create New Mexico jobs, protect the environment and save money for ratepayers. Investing in dirty coal and out-of-state nuclear is looking backwards. Let’s see some bold, forward thinking from our largest utility,” said Tom Solomon of 350.org New Mexico.

“We are determined to participate in the ongoing fight to protect our land, wildlife, water and climate from the damage caused by fossil fuels leading to climate change. At this rally, it is our desire to show PNM shareholders how critical it is that we abandon the use of coal and gas now. We would like to see shareholders mandate that PNM transition to use only clean energy immediately. The future of our planet depends on it,” said Janiece Jonsin, Northern New Mexico Climate Activists.

David Robertson, Sierra Club, robertson.david51@gmail.com, 505-803-6242
Tom Solomon, 350.org New Mexico, tasolomon6@gmail.com, 505-328-0619
Sanders Moore, Environment New Mexico, sanders@environmentnewmexico.org , 404-276-0946
Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy, mariel@seedsbeneaththesnow.com, 505-469-4060
Janiece Jonsin, Northern NM Climate Activists, jjonsin@yahoo.com , 505-501-1779