New Energy Economy operates on the theory that change requires both courageous opposition to the violence of the fossil fuel economy AND creative collaboration that excites the imagination of even the most careful and risk-averse community leaders. We know that solar, wind and battery storage is the future. We know that all the energy we could ever need is swirling around us, essentially free to the people bold enough and bright enough to cut the fossil fuel cord and build out the infrastructure to collect and distribute more energy than New Mexico could ever need. That is why in 2023 we are putting even more resources into collaborating with PublicPowerNM to promote Local Choice Energy and partnerships with community groups and solar developers to implement co-operatively owned Community Solar projects and Sol for ALL solarization projects.
In addition to defending against the utilities brazen attempt to kill community solar at the NM Supreme Court, contrary to the will of the people and the legislature, New Energy Economy is collaborating with solar developers and other community groups to devise a model and implement a co-operatively owned Community Solar project that will allow subscribers to not only get their energy from the solar project, but also share in the profits generated. This is energy democracy in the best sense of the word!
SOL FOR ALL
Last year we completed a solarization project at Casa Milagro, a home for formerly unhoused members of the Santa Fe Community. The project is redirecting at least $130,000 in electricity dollars into critical community services. This year we received grant funding for the down payment on the solarization of Major Market, a 100% tribal owned and operated grocery store at the Zuni Pueblo that supports local indigenous farmers and provides healthy food to the community in what was formerly a food desert. The project will be completed in the first half of 2023 and will save Major Market $22,000 per year. Next on the horizon?? Reunity Resources, Keres Children's Learning Center and Barrett House. In collaboration with funders, community organizations and solar developers we are putting up panels and demonstrating the power of solar energy to build community capacity and resources in real time!
LOCAL CHOICE ENERGY
This is the year for Local Choice Energy in New Mexico! The PublicPowerNM coalition has pushed the campaign for Local Choice Energy legislation into overdrive, with grassroots groups, county and city commissioners and tribal governments across the state onboard to lobby for passage in 2023. The Bayard County Commission was the first to pass a unanimous resolution in support. The Environmental Justice Caucus and the Adelante Progressive Caucus have signed on. PublicPowerNM has active supporters generating enthusiasm and talking to their representatives in Gallup, Taos, Las Cruces, Silver City, Albuquerque, and of course Santa Fe. Sponsors and Co-Sponsors in the House and the Senate are fired up and ready to lead the effort.
Why is Local Choice critical now? The conclusion of an Economic Analysis of the PNM Avangrid Merger commissioned by the PRC reads:
As clarified in the above analysis, this merger may create an absolute monopolistic market structure in New Mexico electricity market due to the current market shares of both Avangrid in renewable energy markets in the US and PNM in generation, transmission, and distribution segments in New Mexico. Also, market developments in both generation segment and renewable energy market and the existence of rate of return regulation help the merging companies create such a monopolistic market power. If the Commission approves this merger between Avangrid and PNM, Avangrid can completely dominate all the segments from generation to transmission, distribution, wholesale, and retail in New Mexico electricity market. If this happens, there will be welfare transfer from electricity users to the merging companies in addition to the inefficient use of resources based on deadweight loss due to the monopolistic market structure. Such a market structure refers to the maximization of private interests of the merging companies but not public interest[.]
Local Choice Energy legislation is a backstop against this dangerous monopolistic market structure, allowing communities and community members a choice in their energy sources and protecting against the economic abuse that monopolies inevitably allow. New Mexicans deserve a choice, and the Inflation Reduction Act funding for publicly owned renewable energy means that there is money on the table for those communities that can get organized to build new energy sources now!
We hope you will join us in getting Local Choice Energy legislation passed this year! Educate yourself about Local Choice Energy, sign up for PublicPowerNM updates, and most importantly, call on your legislators to support the bill! The legislative session begins in just a few short weeks. Now is the time to get involved!