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Sierra Club: We Will Challenge NMPRC Renewable Energy Ruling

PHOTO: There could be challenges to New Mexico's Public Regulation Committee's decision to change the amount of credit utilities are given for renewable energy. Photo credit: NASA.
PHOTO: There could be challenges to New Mexico's Public Regulation Committee's decision to change the amount of credit utilities are given for renewable energy. Photo credit: NASA.
November 26, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There could be challenges to a decision by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to lower the amount of renewable energy that utilities have to generate.

Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, says the PRC action reduces the amount of solar and other energies, such as geothermal, that utilities have to produce by increasing the amount of renewable credits that utilities get for each unit of energy produced.

She says her organization is looking at all options to try to reverse the action.

"The Sierra Club will be challenging the PRC's decision,” she states. “We're exploring all of our administrative and legal remedies to figure out what the best route will be."

State law requires utilities to produce 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources. That requirement will increase to 15 percent in 2015 and 20 percent by 2020.

Feibelman says the five-member PRC voted 3-to-2 in favor of the policy change despite what she calls overwhelming public opposition.

Feibelman adds that producing less renewable energy means more coal and other fossil fuels will be used.

She points out that Intel, the City of Albuquerque, and the University of New Mexico were among those lobbying the PRC to change the renewable energy requirement.

"The big energy users are basically trying to get the public to pay with their health to get cheaper energy for them," she claims.

Feibelman maintains that the PRC action will also hurt the growing solar industry by reducing demand.

The Public Regulation Commission regulates utilities, telecommunications and motor carrier industries.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM