The governor and the State Legislature have been wrongly influenced by the environmental oligarchy when it comes to the energy policies of New Mexico. The Energy Transition Act of 2019 signed into law requires the State of New Mexico to be zero-emission for electricity generation by 2050. This can only be accomplished at the cost of thousands of lost jobs and billions of dollars in lost revenue.
Now the governor and Legislature are trying to change the New Mexico Public Relations Commission (NMPRC) from an elected body of commissioners to an appointed body (of environmentalists). This will give the governor complete dictatorial control over the direction of the state’s regulatory policies including all utilities. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission was created by the voters in 1996 and enacted by a state constitutional amendment.
The energy sector will feel the pain with higher electricity rates to cover the cost of the ETA. The residents in the Four Corners of northwest New Mexico will be the first to feel the pain with the closure of San Juan Generating Station and the tax/ratepayer bond issues to pay PNM (Public Service Company of New Mexico) for decommissioning in 2022. But wait, the Escalante Generating Station is scheduled for premature closure this year.
These two power stations generate 1.5GWe and employ over a thousand jobs for New Mexicans. The ETA replacement is based on wind/natural gas and solar/natural gas with its few hundred out-of-state jobs and only 1.0GWe intermittent electricity without the emission-generating natural gas backup power. This replacement energy source will not meet the requirements of the ETA by 2050 and will have to be completely replaced with the next generation of energy, nuclear.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has earmarked $64 million in additional funding for research and development of smaller, more efficient, and cleaner coal plants in the president’s 2021 federal budget. This is in addition to the Trump administration’s “all of the above” approach to U.S. energy, which includes budgets for advanced nuclear R&D and subsidized wind/natural gas and solar/natural gas.
New Mexico needs to get out from underneath the environmental oligarchy and just say no!