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Reader’s view: Renewable energy necessary for state

Posted: Saturday, December 27, 2014 9:00 pm

Donald Levering

I am writing in support of renewable energy source replacement power for the partial closing of the San Juan Coal Power Plant, one of the oldest and most polluting power plants in the nation.

While Public Service Company of New Mexico’s plan to retire two of the four units at San Juan is a positive step, PNM needs to go further in eliminating its dirty sources of energy by embracing solar and wind.

I am outraged by parts of PNM’s proposed replacement plan. The PNM-proposed plan includes buying more coal from the co-owners at San Juan Unit 4 and investing more heavily in nuclear power in Arizona.

If the PNM proposed plan were to be approved by the Public Regulation Commission, New Mexico citizens would be stuck with:

• Paying continued maintenance of an antiquated, polluting coal power plant.

• More involvement in coal mining.

• Astronomical nuclear power plant decommissioning costs.

• Exacerbating air pollution that worsens health problems such as asthma.

• Contributing to climate change rather than helping to diminish it.

New Mexico is a sun-saturated state. We should be leading in the conversion from coal to solar, not pushing the problem of coal down the road at taxpayers’ expense. I look forward to seeing the PRC take a principled stand against PNM’s backward-looking replacement plan, and favor of an alternative plan that fully invests in a renewable future.

I would go further and suggest that the PRC require PNM to work on new solutions that maximize local generation and distribution of renewable power, rather than relying on enormous installations that require huge land area and long, energy-wasting transmission distances.

Donald Levering is a retired New Mexico state employee and a poet. His most recent poetry book, The Water Leveling With Us, address climate change, species preservation and human rights.


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