Supporters of renewable energy pack PRC hearing

photo by Susan Martin

New Mexicans ask commission to support strong rule to enforce renewables requirements

By Mona Blaber, Communications director

It isn’t often that the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission holds its meetings in front of more than a few lawyers, staff and representatives of regulated companies. But on Sept. 10, when commissioners took public
comments on changes to an important rule that implements New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Act, supporters of clean energy showed up in such large
numbers that the hearing had to be moved to a larger auditorium.

Many of those attending were not permitted to speak because they had submitted written comments. Even so, more than 40 small-business owners, solar-panel installers, representatives of community organizations and ratepayers called on commissioners to reject amendments to the rule that would endanger New Mexico’s Solar Industry. Solar companies called Conservation Voters New endanger New Mexico’s solar for a stable regulatory environ-Mexico and Environment New industry

Only three citizens spoke in commissioners to allow the rule, of the proposed amendments, which would eliminate
requirements for a diverse mix of renewables and would change the way the costs of renewables are calculated.

Employees of solar installers spoke on behalf of their jobs. Solar companies called for a stable regulatory environment. Citizen groups called on commissioners to allow the rule, which was just approved by the commission in December, to be applied for enough time to allow it to be properly assessed.

More than 1,400 New Mexicans have contacted their commissioners through action alerts by Rio Grande Chapter, Conservation Voters New Mexico and Environment New Mexico.

“We are asking the commissioners to maintain the current rule. We are asking them to let the rule work. The amendments that have been proposed to them would damage New Mexico’s burgeoning solar industry,” said Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter.

The commission has not yet scheduled a vote on the changes, which were proposed by New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers and anti-renewables forces at the Attorney General’s Office.

The Rio Grande Chapter will continue to update you. To sign up for our action alerts, go to riograndesierraclub.org.