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Renewable energy gets a greenlight from NM Public Regulation Commission

New Mexico's Public Regulation Commission ruled yesterday that companies that place renewable energy installations on the property of a customer and then sell the energy from the installation to the customer shouldn't be regulated as public utilities. ...renewable energy companies and advocates protested, saying the regulation of such on-site energy production would harm the burgeoning clean energy economy.

New Mexico's Public Regulation Commission ruled yesterday that companies that place renewable energy installations on the property of a customer and then sell the energy from the installation to the customer shouldn't be regulated as public utilities.

Public Service Company of New Mexico, a large investor-owned electricity generation utility, had advocated for regulation of such agreements because they could lead to electricity rate increases.

A wide array of renewable energy companies and advocates protested, saying the regulation of such on-site energy production would harm the burgeoning clean energy economy.

PNM argued that large customers-like government agencies and non-profits-will purchase more and more power from such third-party agreements with renewable energy companies while still needing to purchase electricity from the company. That will lead to the rest of PNM's customers subsidizing the renewable energy customer, the company said.

"The problem is, PNM wants to be the only kid on the block, but we need a diverse approach that allows many players to create as much innovation as possible. If PNM is successful, it would stifle the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

New Mexico's Public Regulation Commission ruled yesterday that companies that place renewable energy installations on the property of a customer and then sell the energy from the installation to the customer shouldn't be regulated as public utilities.

Public Service Company of New Mexico, a large investor-owned electricity generation utility, had advocated for regulation of such agreements because they could lead to electricity rate increases.

A wide array of renewable energy companies and advocates protested, saying the regulation of such on-site energy production would harm the burgeoning clean energy economy.

PNM argued that large customers-like government agencies and non-profits-will purchase more and more power from such third-party agreements with renewable energy companies while still needing to purchase electricity from the company. That will lead to the rest of PNM's customers subsidizing the renewable energy customer, the company said.

"The problem is, PNM wants to be the only kid on the block, but we need a diverse approach that allows many players to create as much innovation as possible. If PNM is successful, it would stifle the renewable energy boom in New Mexico," John Fogarty, executive director of Santa Fe-based New Energy Economy, told the ABQ Biz Journal earlier this year.

The PRC sided with Fogarty and others against PNM.

PRC Commissioner Jason Marks said yesterday that because governments and nonprofits are ineligible for state and federal tax credits that help subsidize the installation of renewable energy systems, they are "locked out of the customer side of the renewable market," according to the Associated Press.

"Third party energy developers can serve an important role in the development of renewable energy generation in New Mexico," Gov. Bill Richardson said in a statement late Tuesday. "This decision by the PRC is the first step in providing the kind of economic certainty necessary to break the log-jam holding up renewable energy projects that would stimulate job growth and investment in New Mexico."

According to the Associated Press, PNM is considering a number of options now. It may ask for a rehearing by the PRC before appealing the decision to the state supreme court, and it will also advocate for state legislation to bring the third party energy producers under the public utility umbrella.


Source: http://newmexicoindependent...

DEC 23 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23793-renewable-energy-gets-a-greenlight-from-nm-public-regulation-commission
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