Friday, July 6, 2007

Break The Grip Field Trip

Tracking the El Paso Electric Rate Case has revealed legal procedures, confidentiality rules and utility company control over the process that curtails public participation and consumer advocacy. I have discussed these issues with PRC Commissioners Sandy Jones and Jason Marks as well as Chief of Staff Danny Mayfield and Consumer Relations Division Chief Juan Rios. These are the decision makers who could make the PRC more user friendly. They seem genuinely to agree with the need for change, especially newcomer and “people person” Sandy Jones. But they are reticent and say they are constrained by the legal department, PRC rules, budgetary limitations and the political power of regulated utility companies in New Mexcio. For several months I have written posts about public access and input to the Public Regulation Commission (PRC).

Over at Break The Grip, Bill Althouse takes us on a “citizen visit” to the PRC in Santa Fe. Check out the trials and tribulations encountered by clicking HERE

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tea With Steve

On an hellaciously warm afternoon in one of the genteel homes that grace the turn of the century Alameda Depot Historic District of Las Cruces, a parlor meeting of invited residents from the Alameda Depot and the more modest, but older Mesquite Historic District was held. The guest of honor was Congressman Stevan Pearce, Republican, 2nd District and Hobbs native.

Standing around before the Congressman addressed the group, was a local historian who claimed lineage to the last hangman of Las Cruces. He informed the homeowner-a retired gentleman who said, “I do the yard work around here.” when introducing himself - that his house was built on the former location of the Park Hotel. This area, once Rio Grande bottom land, was developed after the railroad was built in 1881, hence the need for a hotel to service passenger travelers.
CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Clean Energy Act 2007 Survives New Mexican Assault

“The San Francisco Democrats want to run cars with wind”, said Congressman Steve Pearce in a statement opposing the Clean Energy Act of 2007 which would repeal tax breaks for the oil industry and order the Bush Administration to collect past royalties on federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Pearce wants to preserve corporate welfare for oil and gas extraction by large energy companies which came in the form of tax breaks for Big Oil and was awarded by Congress in 2004 at a time of unprecedented profits in the industry. Despite Pearce’s objection the Bill passed the House. CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Breaking The Grip in Southern New Mexico

“Ben Luce has been instrumental in the writing of laws and regulations that are the foundation of New Mexico’s transition to a clean energy economy. He is an expert on new energy technologies and the policies that promote them.”
While I am encouraged by some clean energy policy in the State, here in Southern New Mexico, energy is under the firm control of the oil and gas industry, nuclear reprocessing and waste interests, El Paso Electric Corporation of Texas and Tri State Generation and Transmission of Denver. The state of clean energy in Southern New Mexico makes a mockery of Governor Richardson’s statements on the campaign trail. Breaking the grip of corporate control of energy is a prerequisite to clean energy progress in Southern New Mexico.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Commissioner Sandy Jones Brings PRC to TorC

On Wednesday, June 20, Public Regulation Commissioner, Sandy Jones and several PRC officials met with the public at the Sierra County Commission Chambers in Truth or Consequences. The purpose of meeting was to establish access to Santa Fe “decision makers”, Sandy Jones emphasized in an article in the The Herald and in a news release on the much improved PRC web site. CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Where Does Electricity Produced 12 Miles Southwest of Las Cruces, N.M. Go?

Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), the State’s largest public electric utility, serving north central New Mexico and certain other areas in the state, is proposing a rate increase to raise 60.9 million dollars in new revenue. PNM says that 30% of the new revenue will be used to double generating capacity at the company’s Afton gas powered Generating Plant, south of Las Cruces. The new generation will be needed to meet increasing demand. At the El Paso Electric rate increase hearing in Las Cruces, the Public Regulation Commission expressed concern about how EPE would meet future demand in Las Cruces since the the Texas utility is not building new generating capacity and has made little progress in energy efficiency. So why has PNM and not EPE built a new plant in fast growing Las Cruces? CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Energy Resource Rich Site Approved For Vistas at Presidio Development In Las Cruces

Las Cruces City Council has approved annexation and development of thousands of acres on the East Mesa. Vistas at Presidio will be built over a vast geothermal field and under the nation’s second most intense solar radiation. CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Is Keeping Southern New Mexico From Leading The State In Renewable Energy?

No New Renewable Energy in Southern New Mexico until 2008: Three years after passage of New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in 2004, El Paso Electric’s Renewable Energy Procurement Plan for 2007 indicates the utility will meet the mandate by purchasing wind energy credits from Pubic Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) which buys the wind energy from Florida Power and Light resulting in no new renewable energy in Southern New Mexico and adding no diversity to EPE energy sources. CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lights Out Las Cruces

Located about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix, Palo Verde is the nations largest Nuclear plant, supplying electricity to some 4 million customers including residents of Las Cruces, New Mexico. El Paso Electric owns a 15.8% interest in each of the three nuclear generating units at Palo Verde and gets 52% of its energy from nuclear power. Keep in mind that “Palo Verde has been plagued by outages and equipment problems for the past several years.” according to Associated Press reports in April, 2007. CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Getting the New Mexico Legislature “In Hot Water”

“The focus in NM should be on direct-use (using hot water at the geothermal site) in the industrial and agriculture sectors.“ The economic potential of direct use far exceeds that of electricity production, is more water friendly and has real energy cost savings compared to fossil fuels. CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and Environmental Justice

The Vado biomass plant will collect cow manure from 15 dairies and generate electricity which it will sell to El Paso Electric Company (EPE). “The contract is signed and the project is on schedule” according to an EPE attorney and Lila Garza of Southwest Bioenergy LLC which will build the plant. Three environmental issues associated with this biomass plant are: 1. Improving local waste disposal practices 2. Clean energy production reducing greenhouse gas emissions and 3. Environmental justice. Environmental Justice issues concern lack of government regulation which have resulted in environmental hazards and risks. CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Friday, May 18, 2007

Las Cruces Officials React To Energy Fair

Following the First Annual Las Cruces Energy Fair, the following message was sent to City Officials:

Dear Local Official

The Energy Fair on the Downtown Mall in Las Cruces Saturday was an excellent opportunity to bring energy experts, local officials and the public together.
I missed you at the Energy Fair. If you have a minute could you please answer these questions: CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Governor Richardson’s Energy Policy Needs A “Southern Strategy”

The Governor declared New Mexico the Nation’s leading clean energy State. This campaign rhetoric is a great opportunity for New Mexico clean energy advocates to pressure the Governor to make the rhetoric reflect reality in the State. No better place to start than Southern New Mexico CLICK HERE to be redirected to full post

Monday, May 14, 2007

Purchasing Biodiesel In Santa Fe and Searching For Biodiesel In Las Cruces.

In Santa Fe if you drive a diesel vehicle you pull into the “Giant” station on Cerillos Road and fill up with public and municipal biodiesel users. In Las Cruces, not so simple. CLICK HERE for more...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Geothermal Energy Not New To Las Cruces

“No wasted energy goes up the smokestack and there is zero green house gas emissions. New Mexico has the largest acreage of geothermal greenhouses in the Nation and the State’s geothermal energy would be a good source for manufacturing biofuels” Geologist James Witcher was at the First Las Cruces Energy Fair CLICK HERE for more...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Lovely Day In Downtown Las Cruces -Pros Meet The Public At Energy Fair

Officials should anticipate higher expectations from their constituents in achieving energy solutions in the future after Las Cruces’ First Annual Energy Fair. CLICK HERE for a photo overview of the Fair.

Ben Luce Gets Enthusiastic Reception in Las Cruces

The Southwest Environmental Center was full of citizens eager to learn more about Renewable Energy. His power point presentation was comprehensive covering electrons to the implementation of wind and solar generating plants. CLICK HERE For more & pictures