Source: Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy
If the 2017 legislative session had a Wishful Thinking Award, it would surely go to SB 312. Backed by Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), the bill puts the state’s “renewable portfolio standard” on steroids.
The legislation requires “rural electric cooperatives and municipalities” to obtain 70 percent of their juice from politically correct sources by 2040. For “public utilities,” the mandate is 80 percent.
We’re through the looking glass with this one, folks. The chart above reveals an inconvenient truth — that just about every electron used by New Mexican homes and businesses is generated from “fossil” fuels. Skyrocketing the RPS would make the state dependent on expensive and volatile sources for power. As Dax Contreras of The New Mexico Politico noted, “those pushing for renewable sources of energy are blissfully … ignorant of the added costs of imposing such mandates.” For example, the “free” fuel supplied by sunshine and wind is intermittent and unreliable. Back-up generation systems, usually natural gas-based, are a must. And pushers of “green” power never fail to overlook the expenditures (red tape, lawsuits, land acquisition, construction of transmission lines) incurred to move the juice from where it’s generated to where it’s consumed.
The Land of Enchantment’s current RPS, set at 15 percent and scheduled to rise to 20 percent in 2020, is already helping to drive the price of electricity higher. In September, PNM was allowed to raise its rates, and the company is now seeking a new increase. To the south, El Paso Electric “plans to seek a rate hike for New Mexico customers late this spring.”
If SB 312 becomes law, look for rate-hike requests to be more frequent and more severe. Economic-development efforts will be crippled, but New Mexico’s “progressives” can sleep comfortably, knowing that their state gets its electricity from the “right” fuels.