NEW ENERGY ECONOMY'S 100% RENEWABLES REPORT:
New Energy Economy published a 25-page technical report illustrating the pathway to 100% renewable electricity in NM by 2035. The plan would set our state on track to lead the nation with a renewable energy economy that is more dynamic, equitable, sustainable, and resilient than what has existed in NM for decades.
Rather than energy derived from coal, nuclear and natural gas to serve the 500,000 customers in PNM's service territory, NEE’s plan would transition the state to 700 megawatts of solar power and 1750 megawatts of wind power by 2035, leveraging the state’s 2nd in the nation ranking for solar potential, and 12th in the nation for wind potential.
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New Energy Economy files its appeal in the New Mexico Supreme Court
against the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission for approving $150 Million in costs from ratepayers for the Four Corners coal plant despite a finding against
PNM for “imprudence” by two Hearing Examiners and the full Commission
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We are so grateful to all of you who stepped up to stop Senate Bill 47 in the Conservation Committee on Saturday. Your support in big and small ways is what made the difference. As you know the stakes are so high with this bill. We wish we could say that together we secured a definitive victory -- but the truth is PNM is desperate to get the bill passed - because they stand to gain so much, at our expense.
We are grateful that our elected officials raised the critical issues that deserve resolution, listened to the concerns of the people, and have thus far stood strong.
We've heard that PNM is relentlessly lobbying and is using their usual fear-mongering tactics in order to justify their attempt to circumvent the regulatory process and strip the PRC of its ability to impose public interest conditions (i.e. ratepayer protections) to the financing order. PNM is saying such protections would make the bonds "unmarketable".
Yet this is the standard for Regulation Commissions in states where bonding authority has been approved throughout the country. In 38 out of 50 securitization bond transactions across the U.S. since 2001, the state utility commission had the authority to require public interest conditions such as “lowest cost objective” or due diligence standards & use of an independent financial advisor to oversee and condition the bond transactions. Having these protections in place ensures that the utility secures the best available price for ratepayers under current market conditions & that the savings to customers exceed their fees. Hmmm....no wonder PNM is fighting them.
The three remaining issues in the bill that MUST be addressed in order for us to shift our position against it are:
1) The bill still strips the PRC of its ability to impose basic ratepayer protection standards on the bond transactions.
2) The bill grants PNM ownership of replacement power, regardless of the cost and allows them to select the energy supply, regardless of the legal standards of resource acquisition.
3) The bill inadequately addresses the needs of indigenous and local communities and workers whose health has been impacted by the plant for decades and now are impacted economically by its closure.
4) The bill allows PNM and its shareholders to recoup the costs of clean-up from ratepayers and evade their own responsibility for the toxic waste site they have created.
We will remain vigilant on this bill and keep you updated.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to educate New Mexicans about the risks and apply public pressure. In today's Reporter, the below ad will run.
Can you contribute $5 or $25 or $50 to help us defray the costs of the ad?
Investing in a Just Transition Means Trusting Those Who Are Most Directly Impacted to Lead:As you know, New Energy Economy is deeply concerned about the process of transition. How do we move from an economy based on fossil fuels and extractive industry to renewables and sustainable businesses.With support from the Con Alma Foundation, New Energy Economy has invested in the development of a Health Impact Assessment led by Dine organizers who are exploring with their community the impacts of the San Juan Coal Plant on people and the land - across generations and the collective vision for a just transition. This work is critical. It is led by and for the people and it will inform all of our legal and advocacy work in the next year as we approach the Abandonment case and other critical policy decision points.Kim Smith and Makai Lewis are our organizers who are working to develop a community advisory council and who will be facilitating conversations with community members integrating food and ceremony over the next year in order to gather the stories, demands, and dreams of the community. Valerie Rangel, indigenous artist, educator, scholar and researcher is assisting with our HIA process.
Watch Kim's powerful statement at Saturday's Senate Conservation Hearing.
As she states, she was the only Indigenous Voice in the Hearing.
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Thank you everyone who filled the chairs in the Senate Chambers and supported us in the gallery. The public support was impressive, effective and critical!!!
This is only round one: and the people won!!
But as we know, PNM will not stop. If passed, this bill would have expanded their monopoly to own all replacement power generation and a lot of money is at stake. If PNM would have been successful the ratepayers' bills would skyrocket and they would have been out from under the consumer protection standards of prudence and cost effectiveness. This is really what this bill was about. To see Mariel's presentation about the anti-competitive nature of PNM's bill watch HERE.
Senators Cervantes and Wirth were troubled by the elimination of competition in the bill and they understood the dire implications for New Mexico's ratepayers - that PNM ownership costs us far more for the same energy resources. Senators Stefanics, Soules and McSorley joined to create a majority that tabled the bill. Senator Martinez joined the three Republicans in support of the bill. Senator McSorley dragged himself to this committee hearing despite his terrible illness because he understood the gravity of this decision and his pivotal vote.
PNM will try and make a deal to resuscitate this bill and we must remain vigilant.
We need to be able to count on you to pack the gallery if the bill comes up again.
A million thanks to all who testified, wrote letters, made phone calls, signed petitions, visited legislators!! Thanks also to all the organizations who were with us.
Standing together we can defeat this bill.
The New Energy Economy team
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Let’s not rush energy bond bill
- The Santa Fe New Mexican, February 1, 2018
With the shutdown of the San Juan Generating Station, PNM is leaving behind some $353 million in investment — so-called stranded costs that can no longer be recovered. Previously, the coal-fired plant in northwest New Mexico was to close in 2053; the market has altered that goal, leading PNM to realize that the plant no longer makes financial sense. Now, PNM wants to shut the plant down some three decades earlier, by 2022, leaving behind the dollars it would have made with the plant up and running.
But how to recover those dollars? Enter Senate Bill 47 and House Bill 80, the Energy Redevelopment Bond. The legislation has bipartisan support but broad opposition from a variety of consumer and energy groups. More than 40 groups are opposing the bill, which would allow PNM to recover its stranded investments by floating low-cost bonds. In the Senate, Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, and Sen. Steven Neville, R-San Juan, are sponsors. The House version is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Bobby Gonzales of Taos and GOP Minority Whip Rod Montoya of Farmington.
While we will not go so far as to call the legislation a “bailout” of an irresponsible energy producer, the issues in this legislation are complicated and far-reaching. They deserve a wider discussion than is likely to happen during a short legislative session.
At the heart of the conversation must be consideration of how best to support the Four Corners region as it transitions away from an economy based on fossil fuels, as well as keep rates down for consumers. It is unfair for ratepayers to shoulder too great a portion of the costs for the company’s abandoned investments.
PNM’s closure of the San Juan Generating Station will have economic ripple effects, not just for PNM but for the entire state, especially the Four Corners region. Any legislation that allows PNM to recover its costs through issuing bonds must contain the strongest protections for the region, with focus on investments that will lead to jobs and steady economic support for the area.
This bill is an important step in determining ways to pay for the transition from coal to other kinds of energy, but 30 days might not be enough time to debate its long-term implications. This is too important to rush.
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Bill to aid PNM should not be passed by Legislature
Sunday, January 28th, 2018 at 12:02amPNM is pulling a fast one at the Legislature to avoid Public Regulatory Commission scrutiny of its valuation for the soon-to-close San Juan Generating Station. Senate Bill 47, drafted by PNM, will stick the public with $353 million plus interest for PNM’s old, unreliable, coal-fired San Juan power plant. In reality, the plant is worth nothing, or tens of millions less than nothing if we factor in cleanup costs, including dealing with the underground mountain of coal ash leaching into our San Juan River. Furthermore, renewable energy is far cheaper and more reliable than any coal plant. You have to admire PNM’s nerve for trying to make San Juan’s closure a payday.
Under the bill, the Legislature accepts PNM’s $353 million valuation for San Juan and allows PNM to “securitize” it by selling bonds in that amount at Wall Street. SB 47 requires ratepayers to pay it back, plus interest.
When a utility is forced by external circumstances to close a plant before its useful life ends, it can recover from ratepayers at least some of the plant’s remaining value. But PNM is not closing San Juan because of an external cause before its time is up, but because the plant is expensive, works only about 70 percent of the time and the co-owners want out. SB 47 allows PNM to sidestep the PRC, where there would be a hearing on San Juan’s valuation and a likely “stranded asset” award of between zero and 50 percent of San Juan’s true book value. Instead, PNM goes to the Legislature to get 100 percent of what it wants. Santa Claus will come down the chimney at the Round House, with SB 47 tied in a bow!
PNM claims that by securitizing the “value” of San Juan, it will save the ratepayers money, but that’s based on the hypothesis that the PRC would give PNM much more for the plant than it is likely to, as PNM knows. Otherwise, it would just go to the PRC. But there, PNM would have to prove what it should get. SB 47 jettisons this legal process by legislating that the plant is worth what PNM says.
The Legislature should let the PRC do its job.
There’s more: In addition to the “securitization” giveaway, SB 47 contains another doozy. PNM drafted SB 47 to require itself to replace coal generation capacity with only self-owned power. What’s wrong with that? A lot.
PNM will make millions more, and ratepayers will pay millions more, if PNM owns its own replacement power facilities than would be the case if PNM only did what other utilities would do: put out bids for solar and wind providers to build and operate their own projects in New Mexico and sell the power to PNM at long-term, pre-set rates, which are very low. PNM would not have included this requirement in its bill if it didn’t mean more money for PNM and higher rates for us. Anyone who thinks otherwise can meet me at the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ll bring a deed.
Large solar and wind companies are national and highly competitive. They build, own and maintain solar and wind facilities, selling the power they produce under long-term contracts. SB 47’s requirement of PNM ownership, as drafted by PNM, will have four negative effects on ratepayers: It will prevent the PRC from even considering whether non-PNM-owned generation facilities are more cost-effective, as the law requires. In future, it will make solar and wind appear more expensive than they are because competitive bidding will be suppressed. It will drive national providers away, and will remove the economic advantages to ratepayers of PNM buying renewable power plus storage at predetermined low rates. Instead, PNM will own the facilities, getting a guaranteed return on equity of nearly 10 percent, as opposed to the lower profit margins solar and wind providers accept.
This PNM-drafted, PNM-lobbied, private legislation should not pass.John Boyd is one of the lawyers supporting New Energy Economy before the PRC and in the New Mexico Supreme Court.
Thank you for joining thousands of New Mexicans calling for a just transition to 100% renewables.
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Together we will turn the tide for New Mexico's economy, environment, and communities!38 signatures
I am a founding member of the 100% Renewable Energy for New Mexico campaign and pledge my political support only to candidates who commit to transitioning New Mexico’s electric sector to 100% renewables by 2035.
As a central value of this shift, I call on all candidates for elected office to fight for a “just transition” by protecting extractive industry workers with healthcare and job retraining, requiring comprehensive clean-up of the toxic contaminants left in our soil and water, ensuring that consumers don’t pay for utility monopolies’ poor financial planning, utilizing existing transmission capability for renewable energy installation, and ensuring 100% renewable replacement power.
I look forward to supporting your candidacy with my vote, advocacy, and financial resources once you have publicly committed to 100% Renewables and a Just Transition for New Mexico.
Thank you in advance for embracing our state’s heritage and natural endowment, for embracing a forward-looking vision for our economy, and ensuring a sustainable future for our children.