As you know New Energy Economy prevailed before PRC Hearing Examiner Carolyn Glick against PNM when PNM sought to own 50 MW solar (built by Affordable Solar). She found PNM’s procurement process was rigged and called it anti-competitive and unfair. PNM wants to own ALL the solar because that way it makes money on the electricity it sells us and a nearly 10% return on the solar assets AND the land the solar sits on. This can’t be the least cost alternative as PNM claims.
After the Commission led by Sandy Jones ruled (3-2, Espinoza and Lyons in the minority) to overturn Carolyn Glick’s recommendation regarding PNM-owned solar New Energy Economy filed a Motion to Reconsider. We argued that the PRC majority ignored and distorted substantial evidence in the record. Evidence which led the Hearing Examiner to reject PNM-owned solar due to its unreasonably high solar procurement costs to PNM’s customers.
Very quickly, here’s the evidence that Jones, Hall and Lovejoy ignored:
PNM’s cost for the 50 MW of solar $44.63/MWh.
1. But in 2016 PNM received lower non-PNM owned Independent Power Producer bids for $41.63/MWh, $42.35/MWh, $42.65/MWh (including “wheeling/transmission” costs). So, PNM’s 50 MW cost is between $1.98 and $3/MWh higher than the cost of the three lowest PPA bids at a time when solar and wind resource costs have continued to decline in New Mexico and elsewhere. See NEE Exhibit 4, PNM’s 2016 RFP results.
2. When PNM contracted with Affordable Solar for Facebook it received an actual ceiling price of up to $39.85 in April 2017. So why can Affordable Solar provide a cost of $39.85 for PNM's affiliate (a created company to maximize profit for PNMR, PNMR-D) in turn for Facebook in April 2017, but ratepayers are to pay $44.63/MWh in November 2017 from the same company build for PNM?! Clearly, the price of $44.63/MWh is NOT the most cost effective among feasible alternatives.
Why should ratepayers pay $5 more a MWh than Facebook?
The good news is that the Albuquerque Bernalillo Water Utility Authority and the PRC Staff filed, today, briefs in support of NEE’s Motion to Reconsider also requesting to uphold Ms. Glick’s recommended decision because: “actual prices clearly show that the PNM's bid price of $44.63/MWh is not the most cost effective among feasible alternatives.”
What’s exciting, in addition to the support, is that Staff states that the PRC should require PNM to reissue a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) WITH an independent evaluator to monitor the process because there is such a financial bias toward utility-owned resources. Something we’ve been saying for years, and tried to get passed at the PRC and through the legislature (SB 360) but Richard Martinez (Judiciary Chair) wouldn’t schedule our bill for hearing because he was literally being kissed by PNM’s lobbyist, not to mention showered with PNM money.
Not only is PNM flouting the law, greedy in the extreme, but pollutes our democracy as well.