Advocates: Renewable Energy Saves Water

Jun 25, 2014

PNM has plans to increase solar energy production but critics say a new proposal is not enough.
Credit Sierra Club and 350 New Mexico

A group of environmentalists unveiled a plan today that would call for the state’s largest electric utility to increase their renewable energy portfolio.  This alternative to PNM’s plan would also drastically reduce water usage in a time of severe drought.

Environmentalists have proposed a PNM energy portfolio that includes 30 percent renewable energy produced by wind and solar. They argue PNM’s plan, which proposes a 12 percent renewable portfolio, would use over 5 billion gallons of water a year.

Jim McKenzie, with 350 New Mexico, explains their plan would cut PNM’s water use by over one third.

"So, our plan uses less water and it’s cheaper," McKenzie said. "Because renewables now are cheaper. Wind and solar photovoltaics are cheaper then coal and nuclear, much cheaper then nuclear, and they're safer."

PNM is shutting down two of their old coal fired power plant units in the Four Corners region. Utility officials have proposed a plan to make up for the loss of electricity with an increase in coal, natural gas and nuclear energy production.

The state Public Regulation Commission‘s decision on PNM’s proposed energy portfolio could depend on the City of Albuquerque. Mayor Richard Berry has until Friday to approve the City Council’s renewable energy resolution.