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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:42 pm 
"PNM is a monopoly.." then later "through their lobbyists they are way too cosy with some powerful state legislators" to paraphrase Mariel Nanasi; Executive Director of (and lawyer for) New Energy Economy (NEE). A group from NEE were in Silver City Monday for the local launch of their statewide "100% Renewables Campaign". Also on the panel were 2 from a local group, SEED (Securing Economic and Energy Democracy)​.

About 45 locals attended Mondays meeting where NEE wanted to here our concerns and ideas and there were plenty of them. Two persistent issues came up: educating the public that renewables are viable and competitive and the training of solar installers which are growing in demand.

For NEE the push is to convince (or force) PNM to switch their 4 Corners Power Plant to 100% Renewable solar and wind. To that end NM PRC is being lobbied and PNM is being forced to be honest in their accounting that shows the competitiveness of the power plant going 100% Renewable.

Affordability was talked about with a few in the room having solar panels most though, while acknowledging that solar is now more affordable than ever, still say it's beyond their means with no funding available unless their monthly electric bills are in the hundreds of dollars. This brought up the potential of neighborhood solar builds as a solution but according to Mariel this is currently illegal in New Mexico though a community could form their own electric coop much like Taos did with their Kit Carson Electric Co-op and who have pledged to work toward 100% Renewables.

Part of the NEE campaign is to convince any person running for or currently in public office to sign a pledge that he or she will actively work toward 100% Renewables.

County Commissioner Harry Browne, one of only 2 elected officials present (the other being Assessor Turrieta) said that Grant County is discussing the installation of solar panels on 5 of their buildings but that they could and should do more. Perhaps the citizens could lean on the County more.

NEE website: http://www.newenergyeconomy.org

Contact for SEED
Debaura James, Silver City, NM
​SEED (Securing Economic and Energy Democracy)​

 Author: Khart
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:55 am 
I was at this meeting and found it worth my time to get a sense of the personalities and issues motivating both the group from NEE and those from this area. One of the most moving moments in their presentation happened right at the beginning when a young woman who is part of the NEE organization sang a song she had composed. In an almost rap fashion she touched on her roots as a Native American and a Latina to emphasize the need for social justice. In fact the entire presentation focused on social justice and quoted Martin Luther King extensively.

I was a bit taken aback by how strident NEE generally was in their attitude toward PNM, casting them as the enemy that we all must fight against. I would prefer to hear some language that wasn't so divisive; I also sensed this attitude emanating from our local SEED group. In fact a local woman who works as a mediator spoke to this very issue, pointing out that pitting yourself against something is not generally the way to create concessions or change; it is often more productive to find common ground and work from there.

I spoke about the need for resilience of our electrical grid system, which is extremely vulnerable to massive disruption from cyber or physical attack, as well as fluctuations from EMF events. I mentioned that this could be a common goal for all concerned because one of the best ways to address this vulnerability is through the distributed generation of rooftop solar and other local renewable resources.

What I didn't say, and probably should have, is that everybody in our region can now sign up for 50% renewable energy (largely wind) delivered to their home via PNM for free! And for an additional 1.5 cents per KWhour you can sign up for 100% renewable electricity. I have done this, and it will cost me about $6/month extra on my PNM bill. You can do this in just a few minutes by going to www.arcadiapower.com This doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to try to implement more local renewable energy sources, but at least it is a step in the right direction that is a whole lot more affordable than actually installing your own system. Even renters can do it.

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:26 pm 
Many of us are so frustrated with the solar power situation that we don't go to these meetings. The state legislature is responsible for laws on wheeling and solar gardens that make many solar solutions impossible. The county has failed, so far, to support the PACE Programs that would allow you to pay for solar on your tax bill. Supporting solar house by house without changes in the law is better than nothing, but not ideal. These groups are not supporting realistic ways to change the status quo.

In addition we have had a discussion on this forum about whether the Arcadia Power solution is a scam. Renewable and non-renewable energy is mixed up on the grid and there is no real way to buy renewable only. If someone can show me that Arcadia actually supports renewable energy I would be interested, but I don't understand how it can.


 Author: Khart
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:44 am 
I don't think that Arcadia Power is a scam; they are in partnership with the Sierra Club. It is true that the renewable and non-renewable energy all gets mixed in grid delivery. What Arcadia does is monitor your monthly electricity usage via your local utility. For each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you use, they match it with a kWh produced by a wind farm. This is tracked by purchasing and retiring Green-e Energy certified renewable energy certificates on your behalf. So basically by signing up with them you are helping to support the production of renewable energy...somewhere in the US, but it may not even be locally. But I figure that even this is worth it, especially if it doesn't cost you anything.

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:53 am 
You said earlier that it costs you about $6 a month more on your PNM bill if you sign up with Cascadia for 100% renewables. But where exactly does that money go? Who collects it? Do you pay PNM more? Does PNM pay it to Cascadia to invest in renewables?

You can also sign up for free for 50% renewables. But what does this mean? What money gets invested in renewables?

I'm not following the logic of this. And when I talked to people selling this program they couldn't explain it either. And the Arcadia Power web site didn't explain it intelligibly either. Saying you get Renewable Energy Certificates doesn't explain anything. What are they and how do they help?


 Author: derek
PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:14 am 
The consumer pays Arcadia Power, Arcadia pays the local utility (PNM). RECs, or Renewable Energy Certificates, are a common and effective method of accounting for renewable electricity usage, and is standard practice for many businesses that claim to use renewable energy.

"When you buy RECs (or when we buy them on your behalf), you are taking ownership of wind energy that's being fed onto the grid. Once energy reaches the grid, it mixes together with the energy from coal and hydroelectric plants, solar farms, landfill gas, etc. Utility companies then pull indistinguishable electrons off the grid and deliver them to homes and businesses. It is impossible to determine where the electrons came from - all consumers can do is ensure that wind energy is being sourced onto the grid on their behalf." - Arcadia

Unless a company builds a solar or wind farm, and is directly wired to it, the use of RECs is how it's done. Here's an explainer from the EPA: https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/renewable-energy-certificates-recs

"Because the physical electricity we receive through the utility grid says nothing of its origin or how it was generated, RECs play an important role in accounting, tracking, and assigning ownership to renewable electricity generation and use. On a shared grid, whether from on-site or off-site resources, RECs are the instrument that electricity consumers must use to substantiate renewable electricity use claims." - EPA

And a PDF with more info.

Here's another explanation, this time in video form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_12VYXms6-c

 Author: Khart
PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:48 am 
What happens when you sign up with Arcadia is that you turn your PNM account over to them and they pay it when due, so you end up paying Arcadia what is due, depending on the plan that you choose (either 50% or 100% renewable). PNM doesn't get any extra money. Arcadia makes their money by collecting these Renewable Energy Credits or Certificates (RECs) because they are in a position to do this and you aren't.

RECs are tradable, non-tangible energy commodities that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource and was fed into the grid. RECs provide a mechanism for the purchase of renewable energy that is added to and pulled from the electrical grid. RECs incentivize carbon-neutral renewable energy by providing a production subsidy to electricity generated from renewable sources. RECs allow for purchasers to support renewable energy generation and allows the economic forces of supply and demand to spur the further development of renewable energy generation.

 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:52 am 
There are some real problems with REC's: one is that they are tradable which means after the Certs leave the hands of the supplier and they are traded or share sold (rented) to you on your electric bill, there is no guarantee that any of that money is then used to develop more sources of green energy. It similar to other carbon offset certs like Carbon Credits where a corporate polluter or even a rich individual who jet sets around the world can improve their image by paying someone else to claim their dirt without actually having to stop producing the dirt.

Big energy consumers often use REC's to make it look like they are making big strides in reducing the energy footprint with out ever making any real change and while spending pennies on the dollar that it would cost to make real change.

Enter groups like New Energy Economy who use your donation to force PNM and the PRC to move more rapidly towards the actual production of green energy. For example a year ago or so when PNM presented their findings to the PRC that showed it would be more cost effective and better (cheaper) for their consumers if they were to invest in a new coal fired plant and more Nuclear (ie: Palo Verde). So NEE rented, for something like $10,000 a month, the same software that PNM had used, crunched the numbers and showed that PNM was wrong, then and only then did PNM begin to back peddle and say they would consider renewables to replace the coal unit that the EPA forced them to shut down.

These groups, like NEE, can show more tangible results than sending your money to a middle-man accounting firm that holds some energy certificates.

Think Progress, https://thinkprogress.org has some great articles and discussions on this topic of good REC's and bad REC's.

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