High Priority! Support Solar Energy Targets for New Mexico

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The Renewable Cost Threshold/Solar Diversity Target

November 26, 2012

The Honorable Theresa Becenti-Aguilar
Vice Chair, New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
1120 Paseo De Peralta
P.O. Box 1269
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504

Dear Commissioner Becenti-Aguilar:

We, the undersigned members of the New Mexico diverse business community, are writing to you because we are very worried about impact of the RCT rulemaking process on New Mexico’s solar energy industry. Solar panels have been dropping in price and becoming an ever-cheaper source of non-polluting energy. Despite the economic recession, the solar sector continues to create jobs in New Mexico in many communities. Cutting the solar target in half or completely, as some interveners are proposing, will mean job losses and worker lay-offs, and a return to more use of polluting fossil fuels.

The current uncertainty and indecision by the public Regulation Commission makes it impossible for renewable energy companies to make future business plans. We are also worried that each further delay could mean that the Commission is moving towards watering-down the current renewable energy rules.

The Renewable Cost Threshold/Diversity Target rulemaking has taken over 17 months so far, and has accumulated numerous rounds of filings from utilities, clean energy advocates, consumer advocates, and PRC staff. There have been two public hearings, and now the Commission has agreed to a request for additional briefs, which will delay any decision at least until mid-December. Unfortunately, we view the Office of the Attorney General and NMIEC’s requests for delay as a stalling tactic to push the decision to the next Public Regulation Commission, and a tactic to advance their misguided attempts to rollback our successful solar and renewable energy standards. That position directly contradicts the legislative intent in the 2007 NM Renewable Energy Act as well as a 2012 bi-partisan poll that demonstrates an overwhelming majority of New Mexicans (66 percent) that want more of their energy to come from solar.

As Vice Chair of the Public Regulation Commission, you have always been a champion for the environment and we urge you to call for a vote on the RCT rulemaking process before the end of this term. We also urge you to support jobs in every part of the state, by supporting a diverse new renewable energy portfolio with an aggressive solar target that continues to help build that industry. We are not asking for new, expanded solar requirements, we are just asking to keep what we have, which has been working to provide both clean energy for consumers and jobs for thousands of electricians, technicians, and construction workers.

Thank you for your consideration and for your service to New Mexico.