In 2021 New Energy Economy will be pushing for policies that place the benefits and control over renewable energy resources into the hands of the people. Our goals will be:
To keep New Mexico’s oil and gas reserves in the ground and protect against a publicly funded bailout of the oil and gas industry through policy proposals and legal interventions;
To protect and strengthen regulation in the state of New Mexico, both of the utilities and of the oil and gas industry, in order to protect our health and environment and hold polluters accountable.
To promote the adoption of Local Choice Energy (aka “Community Choice Aggregation” which breaks up the monopoly and allows municipalities to aggregate our electricity demand and choose our own suppliers -- including the option to own and produce locally) and Community Solar (large-scale solar arrays owned by nonprofits, public entities, Tribes, etc that residents can purchase their energy from)- as avenues for sustainable economic development, green revenue & economic recovery opportunities, and models for community-driven energy decision-making and management.
To protect New Mexicans from shouldering the costs of the pandemic by working to create utility debt forgiveness and forcing shareholders to pay their fair share.
To pass a Green Amendment to our constitution to give New Mexicans enforceable rights to clean water, clean air, a stable climate and a healthy environment. Our communities will be able to use the green amendment to hold government officials and industry accountable.
To bring Sol for All - by solarizing critical facilities. Next up is Casa Milagro -- a safe, supportive home for members of our community who need a place to belong, find support, and be cared for.
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New Energy Economy - Giving
300 E Marcy St
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Another year of
BOLD CLIMATE ACTION
FIGHTING TO PUT CLEAN POWER IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE
WHAT ARE WE UP TO IN 2021?
Fighting for Ratepayers and Energy Democracy in the PNM Avangrid/Iberdrola Merger Case
We are deep in the legal trenches at the Public Regulation Commission, where the proposed merger agreement between PNM and Avangrid/Iberdrola could derail the small progress we have been making towards a more democratic and distributed energy model. The merger threatens to instead make New Mexico a colony of a multinational energy corporation that has been called the “Exxon of renewable energy.” Hardly a compliment! Evidence of greenwashing, incompetence, corruption and insider dealings continues to emerge, even as other intervenors enter settlement agreements with the company. Hearings will begin August 11th. Read more at: Avangrid ordered to explain why it withheld information in PNM merger - SF New Mexican
Opposing Four Corners Power Plant “Abandonment” at the Expense of Ratepayers and the Environment
In a very much related case, we continue to oppose the so called “abandonment” application filed for the Four Corners Power Plant because the planned abandonment will not actually close the plant as required by law, instead transferring it to NTEC and preventing its closure until 2027 at the earliest. We also continue to object to the $300M recovery costs to be paid by ratepayers, costs that Hearing Examiners previously found imprudent. These cases are related because the PNM Avangrid/Iberdrola merger requires that PNM abandon the Four Corners Power Plant and securitize the $300M recovery costs. Hearings will begin August 31st. Read more at: PNM ordered to refile Four Corners abandonment case - Abq Journal
Ethics Complaint against Attorney General Hector Balderas and Attorney Marcus Rael
New Energy Economy joined several organizations to file formal complaints against the NM Attorney General Hector Balderas and his associate Marcus Rael, calling for investigations by the State Auditor, the Ethics Commission, and the Disciplinary Board of the N.M. Supreme Court in light of evidence of potential fraud and corruption in violation of the Governmental Conduct Act and the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The complaints are based upon the NMAG’s questionable awarding of contracts to and approval of improper invoices by Attorney Marcus Rael from 2016-present, and derives from suspicions raised when the NMAG signed on to a settlement with Avangrid, in direct conflict with the recommendations of his own witnesses, after Marcus Rael was hired by parent company Iberdrola to lobby for the merger. These business arrangements appear to violate state law that prohibits Conflicts of Interest and Favored Treatment as well as Procurement & Contracting Improprieties. The evidence represents millions of dollars of suspected misuse and abuse of taxpayer funds. Read more at: Powerful ties - New Mexico attorney general accused of violating state ethics laws in negotiating utility merger - Searchlight NM
Advocating for a Public Power Alternative to the Investor Owned Utility Model
The inevitable transformation of the energy economy, driven by both climate change and economic imperatives, represents New Mexico’s greatest economic opportunity in generations. Either we allow these opportunities and resultant profits to flow to a few Wall Street shareholders and IOU executives, or we seize this moment to declare our independence from oil and gas revenue and adopt Public Power to generate billions from both transmission and clean energy generation to enrich the State of New Mexico and its people. Over the next five years PNM projects that it will charge NM ratepayers ROE from $291M to $376M each year, for a total of $1.5billion, a savings that we can immediately invest in our own state. But that is just the beginning – imagine that we link the east and west coast grid, imagine that we develop solar and wind generation capacity that can be sold to California and cities on the east coast, imagine underground high capacity transmission lines along I-25 and I-40 that can transport that energy safely to Mexico and Colorado as well, imagine rural communities and tribes generating passive income from one time investments into solar and wind farms for local use and export, imagine the solar panel and wind turbine manufacturing that could be based in New Mexico communities. We are limited only by the scope of our imagination. New Energy Economy is working with a coalition to secure funding for a feasibility and cost savings analysis, introduce this vision to legislators and decision makers, and educate the public. Learn more at: Tired of Being 50th In All Good Things? We Don’t Have to Be - Retake Our Democracy
Opposing “Decoupling” of Utility Customer Rates from Electricity Usage
New Energy Economy’s position: decoupling can be an effective tool for reducing emissions if done correctly. Unfortunately, the PNM application has several fatal flaws: It does not tie decoupling to a robust energy efficiency commitment and portfolio and it would guarantee PNM cost recovery from captive customers for any reason, including their participation in energy efficiency and load management programs, AND customer energy conservation actions independent of those programs (e.g., simply turning thermostats down in the winter or up in the summer), installation of rooftop-solar, or fluctuations in weather or economic conditions. Decoupling in other states has led to significant increases in customer prices (about 9% on average and about 19% after two years), and a transference of risk from utilities to consumers.
Protecting Ratepayers in the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant Abandonment Case
PNM is replacing 114MW of Palo Verde nuclear in Arizona with all solar and storage! For more than ten years we've been fighting for competitive, all resource Request for Proposals (RFPs) - fighting to get legislation passed, trying to do rulemakings in the PRC, fighting cases against PNM for unfair anti-competitive behavior, even taking our appeal of corrupt PNM bid-rigging at the PRC to the NM Supreme Court where we lost again - YET FAIR COMPETITIVE RFPs ARE NOW STANDARD PRACTICE! End result: the cheapest solar and storage prices EVER! New Energy Economy will intervene in the case to oppose PNM's plan to stick ratepayers with the cost of undepreciated capital investments in the plant and decommissioning, or cleanup, costs that could be substantial when the plant is finally closed. Additionally, we will support the planned solar and battery storage.
Completing Sol for All Solarization projects at Casa Milagro and Major Market at Zuni Pueblo
Sol for All
Last year we worked with Cornerstones to raise funds to solarize the safe and supportive home that Casa Milagro has created for those who have experienced both homelessness and mental illness. Our project to solarize Casa Milagro is nearly complete. After complications and delays during the permitting process with PNM, we finally have the go ahead to begin installation. Celebration coming soon! We have partnered with Major Market at Zuni Pueblo for the next Sol for All project. Major Market provides local prepared foods, groceries and a community gathering space within a food desert. Sol for All provides a vision of what is possible - free and clean energy for all people! Read more at: Solar Power Projects Support Homeless, Fight Fossil Fuels - LA Progressive
Intervening in Community Solar Rulemaking to Ensure an Easy & Accessible Permit Process
A long fought battle for Community Solar was won this year, but not before industry lobbyists watered down the transformative potential of the legislation and creating impediments for solar developers. New Energy Economy is engaged with rulemaking at the PRC to streamline the permit application process as much as possible so that we can maximize the power of distributed solar energy in New Mexico.
100% Renewable San Juan Replacement Power
This legal win has been 10 years in the making but the resistance to the San Juan Generating Station and coal's toxic legacy has been being fought by frontline Diné communities for much longer still.
Congratulations and deepest gratitude to those on the frontlines who have been calling for an end to fossil fuel extraction and exploitation, defending their lands, the water, and our collective health and who have pushed us all -- advocates, the Hearing Examiners, the public, and the Commission to place people and the planet before profits -- to center justice. This decision upheld legal standards for the most cost-effective resource portfolio, most environmentally appropriate resource portfolio, and a reliable and just way to move forward! Many of the replacement resources will be located in the impacted community and these renewables and storage resources will provide FIXED energy costs for the next twenty years in a time of extreme economic and climate uncertainty. A win-win-win.
Utility Shutoff Moratorium Extension
In March when the pandemic hit, the Public Regulation Commission passed a utility shutoff moratorium to protect consumers. In their order today, the moratorium was extended for the duration of the Governor's Emergency Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It both prohibits the discontinuation of residential customer utility service and waives late fees on residential accounts.
New Energy Economy rallied a coalition, including Retake Our Democracy, Earth Care's Santa Fe Mutualistas, YUCCA, OLÉ, Prosperity Works, Working Families Party, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light and several individuals to testify on behalf of the people who are dependent now, more than ever, on stable housing, electricity, heat, water and food to weather this storm. The PRC found our arguments on behalf of those falling farther behind in New Mexico persuasive and extended the moratorium.
Nuclear Divestment Campaign Victory
In numerous cases before the PRC and the New Mexico Supreme Court, New Energy Economy continues to hold PNM, the largest New Mexico monopoly utility, to account. We won an historic victory against PNM's nuclear investments - preventing PNM's 114 megawatt lease repurchase. This victory will save New Mexicans 100s of millions of dollars.
Still pending before the PRC is our case to ensure ratepayers are held harmless for the unfair and unreasonable costs claimed by PNM for their investment in prolonging the life of the Four Corners Power Plant. Also pending before the Supreme Court is our case against the unconstitutional provisions included in the Energy Transition Act, provisions that will cost New Mexican ratepayers $2 billion or more if they are not struck down.