Santa Fe, NM – In response to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) approval of Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) Replacement Power Plan today by a vote of 4-1, Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) Executive Director Demis Foster released the following statement:
“Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, the lone dissenting vote on PNM’s coal and nuclear plan, stood with her constituents and New Mexico families across the state. New Mexican families want and need our leaders on the PRC to plan for a clean energy economy now – when it can benefit our families and communities the most. By supporting PNM plans to reinvest in coal and nuclear power – energy sources that negatively impact the health of New Mexicans every day – the other four PRC commissioners have shirked their responsibility to do what makes the most sense for all New Mexicans in the long term.
CVNM and sister organization CVNM Education Fund connected thousands of New Mexicans with their PRC commissioner to urge them to vote down this plan in favor of a plan that proactively promotes the development of renewables in New Mexico by signing 7,400 petitions and sending 2,327 messages directly to commissioners. The current plan includes 40 MW of solar development, an amount that would surely be lower if not for the effective advocacy of the environmental groups that helped negotiate the agreement in the form of the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE). Even with CCAE’s work, the 40 MW of solar in the current plan make up only a small percentage of the replacement portfolio.
Particularly disappointing was the vote of Commission Chair Karen Montoya, who represents the Albuquerque area. There is still an opportunity for Commissioner Montoya to lead. The replacement plan that just passed includes a check-in in 2018, at which point PNM has agreed to subject San Juan Generating Station to a competitive RFP process. Commissioner Montoya has the opportunity to shake free of the doubts and uncertainty about her relationship with PNM by being a strong advocate for renewables and rate-payers during that process.
We look forward to working with PNM and the PRC in the 2018 process to evaluate all of the coal-fired energy PNM owns at SJGS. San Juan coal costs New Mexicans more than wind and solar energy, without taking into account the negative health impacts. Considering the proven economic opportunity and public health benefits of solar and wind expansion, the PRC could push PNM to adopt more renewables to replace PNM’s entire share of San Juan. If commissioners represent the wishes of their constituents, they will.”
The bipartisan 2015 Conservation in the West State of the Rockies poll found that 62% of New Mexicans view wind, solar and renewable energy industries as one of the most or very important to the state’s future economy.
CVNM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization connecting the people of New Mexico to their political power to protect our air, land, and water for a healthy Land of Enchantment. CVNM does this by mobilizing voters, helping candidates win elections, holding elected officials accountable, and advancing responsible public policies.
Contact: Liliana Castillo, 575-219-9619 or Liliana@CVNM.org