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PNM on track with renewables

The Public Regulation Commission should be recognized for sticking with the targets established in the Renewable Energy Act, which requires New Mexico to get 20 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources by the year 2020. It’s a major milestone, and it’s a major advancement for renewable energy in our state.

The PRC recently approved PNM’s Renewable Energy Act Plan. In my prior occupation as vice president of governmental affairs at PNM, I was very involved in the discussions that led to the increase in the Renewal Energy Act to provide 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. It was difficult to make that increase in renewable energy based on concerns to PNM’s customers and investors. Nonetheless, PNM agreed to make the bold move in supporting that legislation.

A key moment has come in the transition to a more diverse portfolio that includes more renewable energy in New Mexico. With the Renewable Energy Act Plan, that goal is now reachable for PNM, our largest utility. The plan lays the groundwork for new renewable energy projects in the state, to be completed by 2020. When realized, it will mean that most of the state will be powered by 20 percent renewable energy within two years. If the Renewable Energy Act Plan hadn’t passed, our goals would not have been met.

Do you want proof of why this is a good plan? It’s simple; the most knowledgeable environmental groups support the plan, including Western Resource Advocates, the Coalition of Clean and Affordable Energy and the Nature Conservancy, as well as prominent business groups such as the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, ACI, Economic Forum, NAIOP, the Westside Chamber and the Renewable Energy Industry Association, among others.

In addition, this plan is a major advancement for economic development in New Mexico in the renewable energy sector. These projects, and hundreds of projects to come, represent a huge opportunity for our state.

PNM’s renewable portfolio is made up of three categories: wind, solar, and other. There are more than 20 renewable energy sites across the state now producing renewable energy, and this plan calls for the continuation of several projects and the construction of several new ones. With this plan, there will be a good mix of sun-powered, wind-powered and hot-water-powered energy sources in our state, and that will be something of which we can all be proud.

What is equally important to the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce is the economic development value of these projects. The plan calls for the construction of five new solar energy sites in central New Mexico, as well as a new $50 million geothermal plant south of Lordsburg. It also calls for an upgrade on an existing wind farm in southern New Mexico.

It’s not too dramatic to say that this month may have been a turning point on reaching our renewable energy goals. The plan passed by the PRC is a good one, as it ensures that PNM is in compliance with the law and sends PNM down the road of doing something great for our state’s renewable energy future.

Our state’s appreciation goes out to the PRC for passing the Renewable Energy Act Plan and putting us on the path to 20 percent renewable power by 2020.

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