Why Are Some NM Lawmakers Trying to Dismantle the ETA?

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ProgressNow
 New Mexico
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You ever do that thing where you finish a project and stand back and maybe it’s not perfect but it’s good and it’s what you needed… and then you go and mess it up? Add a little too much frosting to that birthday cake, a few too many branches trimmed off that tree, completely dismantling one of the key portions of your state’s landmark energy bills?

Yeah we hate when that happens.

So we’re a little confused why some lawmakers are headed to Santa Fe next week looking to screw up the Energy Transition Act. We saw their letters in state newspapers last week and spent some time looking at what they’re claiming and we just can’t figure it out. The main thrust of their argument seems to come from the failed argument New Energy Economy tried in their litany of litigation over the last couple years, incorrectly applying a rule (31C if you’re interested) that the courts and PRC have said are “misplaced.”

“NEE’s reliance on Section 31 (C) is misplaced. Section 31(C) addresses the result under the Renewable Energy Act of a special Commission order requiring the discontinuance of service by an electric generation facility if the Commission orders a utility to acquire a replacement resource with less or zero carbon dioxide emissions.”  NMPRC Case No. 19-00018, Recommended Decision on Financing, p. 95 (issued February 21, 2020).  Section 31(C) states that this is something that the Commission “may” require.  It is discretionary, granting additional authority to the Commission that it did not previously have under the Public Utility or Renewable Energy Acts.

The ETA has already made monumental shifts for New Mexico’s energy future. It’s telling that the main opponents of the bill are all oil and gas and coal lobbyists, well and then the aforementioned group who continue to struggle with the idea of progress not perfection. There’s nothing more that Koch-funded Power the Future or Hilcorp backed NMOGA wants than to see the ETA stripped of it’s key parts. We have to question the motives of anyone pushing that agenda.

We’re sure our legislators have our best interests at heart. The ETA is complicated but it has already proven that it works. The San Juan Generating Station is closing and being replaced with solar arrays with battery backup. The transition funding to help San Juan County transition and develop new economic drivers is imperative and the proposed  changes could negatively effect that. The people of San Juan County should not suffer because of the political backpedaling of a few Santa Fe elites.

Meanwhile, New Mexico ratepayers have already been SAVING money because of the ETA. So, yeah, that whole argument is bunk too.

There’s a reason we supported having a more professional Public Regulation Commission and there’s a reason we continue to support the ETA. Properly implemented, the ETA has been and will continue to be the backbone of New Mexico’s renewable energy future and it’s disheartening to see that some are already so quick to try and “fix” it when it ain’t broken. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail.

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