Articles from New Mexico
Representatives of two companies lay out plans for use of wind power in Lincoln County; Commercial operations must be underway by late 2020 Wind farms will allow families to preserve their ranches and pass them down to children and grandchildren, supporters say.
Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, has argued that renewable energy standards drive up electricity prices. He contends that New Mexico’s adoption of the renewable energy standard in 2007 — along with regulations spelling out how much wind and solar could be a part of an investor-owned utility’s portfolio — led to a spike in electricity prices.
The construction of the massive El Cabo Wind Farm in southern Torrance County is expected to miss the December 2015 deadline to receive the wind energy tax credits after delays with transmission companies caused the project to come to a standstill, said Mark Stacy, director of Iberdrola Renewables.
The latest New Mexico wind farm will be located in Union County near Clayton on state trust and private land. It will be the eighth wind-energy project on state trust land, and State Land Commissioner Ray Powell expects several more to follow.
New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell said Tuesday he has signed a lease agreement for a 285-turbine wind farm in Union County that could eventually generate up to 500 megawatts of electricity.
I started thinking about it in a larger context, how the Great Plains have been this really abused area of the country. You can go back to the buffalo hunts and the genocides of Native Americans. We have nuclear weapons out there. We’ve drilled and spilled oil and gas, and now we’re fracking and building wind turbines. Most people don’t see this area. It’s flyover country. When you spend a lot of time there it really hits home what we’re doing in the name of consumption and the whole sociological impact people have on the environment.”
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission reversed an earlier decision Wednesday, voting 3-2 to make the value of solar energy equal to the value of wind energy for the state’s power companies. In November, the commission voted to make 1 kilowatt-hour of solar energy worth two renewable energy certificates. It left wind at a 1-to-1 ratio.
The rule shields producers enrolled in the plan and operating in compliance with it from punishment for the accidental death or disturbance of the bird the EPA has targeted for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The rule, passed less than a year ago, establishes how much wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy can be added by utilities in order to comply with the state’s renewable portfolio standard — a law requiring a certain percentage of the state’s electricity come from clean energy sources. After the PRC’s vote, one kilowatt-hour of wind energy will still be worth one certificate. But one kilowatt-hour of solar energy will now be worth two certificates, and one kilowatt-hour of other types of renewable energy, such as biomass or geothermal, will be worth three certificates.
Craig Johnson, a State Land Office auctioneer, supervised the bidding on the steps of the Torrance County courthouse. The outcome, however, was a foregone conclusion, in that Pacific Wind Development was the only bidder to submit the required documents – and nearly $89,000 in deposits and fees – before the 4 p.m. cutoff on Sept. 13.
State regulators voted unanimously Wednesday to cancel a planned public hearing next week over a controversial rule that defines and caps the costs of renewable energy to public utilities and their customers. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission also voted to launch a whole new rule-making for the so-called reasonable cost threshold.
If another golden eagle is killed a Technical Advisory Committee - comprised of biologists from federal and state agencies - will meet and make recommendations to the BLM about what mitigation to take, which could curtail operation of turbines or even shut down turbines. The federal government's disparate treatment of various industries whose operations have resulted in the deaths of eagles or migratory birds has become an issue of late.
The Public Regulation Commission's utility staff had concerns with the rule from the moment the PRC approved it in December. ...PRC attorney Rick Blumenfeld convinced four of the five commissioners on Wednesday that the rule as written will hide the true cost of renewable energy to customers.
PJM Interconnection said in a release on Wednesday that grid conditions had changed since the 765-kilovolt, 275-mile PATH transmission line extending from West Virginia to Maryland was proposed by American Electric Power and FirstEnergy in 2007. "Our updated analysis no longer shows a need for the lines to maintain grid stability," PJM said.
Five large-scale transmission projects are in varying planning and development stages around the state. Together, they could provide enough capacity to transport more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity to western markets ...But none of those projects will come on line until at least 2015, and most will take longer.
While the PRC acknowledged PNM's plan meets state law, Chairman Jason Marks said the question becomes whether an elected commission, trying to diversify the state's energy supply, has the discretion to order a utility to revise its business practices.
The commission, led by Democrat Jason Marks, said it would not accept more paper certificates from PNM. It wanted wind power. ...PNM executives say they were following the law, and should not be ordered to change course to suit the commissioners' desires.
Patrick Lyons, a Republican who chairs the commission, said he would oppose additional state requirements for solar production by private companies. Lyons said alternative energy sources must be increased, but the state would be out of bounds to tell a private company where to invest its money.
PRC staff and Western Resource Advocates argued that the solar energy from those projects can't be used for both the voluntary Sky Blue program and to meet the renewable-energy portfolio standards. "PNM was asking to cannibalize the renewable-energy standards with their voluntary program."
Steve Elliott, president of the Corona Landowners Association, told county commissioners the group, whose members own the land targeted for installation of wind turbines to generate power, are pleased with the modified ordinance version, compared to the much longer initial draft.