Reader View: PNM must use more renewables

Posted: Saturday, October 31, 2015 7:00 pm

New Mexico has an immediate opportunity to promote public health, preserve the state’s natural resources and achieve significant economic development and environmental benefits.

The Public Regulation Commission can take a significant step toward realizing those goals by requiring Public Service Company of New Mexico to move rapidly toward greater reliance on renewable energy sources. I support the position of New Energy Economy that the current proposal for New Mexico’s energy future being considered by the PRC does not go far enough or fast enough

PNM proposes to continue relying on significant coal generation capacity, arguing that it is the most cost-effective alternative. New Energy Economy has presented evidence that wind, solar and gas would be less costly, equally or more reliable, and preferable for environmental reasons.

New Energy Economy is justifiably concerned, however, that such evidence will not be considered objectively by the PRC because four of its five commissioners have engaged in improper “closed door” contacts with PNM and have publicly indicated that they have already decided the case in PNM’s favor. For that reason, New Energy Economy has filed a petition asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to disqualify those four PRC members from any participation in the PNM case.

Much is at stake in this case. The Supreme Court’s decision will determine whether a predisposed PRC will be allowed to approve PNM’s proposal to continue using energy produced by coal-fired plants despite compelling evidence that better alternative sources are available. The PRC’s ultimate decision will have enormous consequences in determining how soon New Mexico will begin to realize the “significant economic development and environmental benefits” envisioned by the Renewable Energy Act’s requirement that PNM move to renewable resources.

Concerned citizens may hear these issues presented at 1 p.m. Nov. 9 at the New Mexico Supreme Court, 237 Don Gaspar Ave.

Jack Justice is a retired lawyer.

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