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PRC to PNM: more renewables

State regulators have unanimously rejected PNM Resources’ request to use certificates it buys from other utilities to meet requirements that it produce 10 percent of its electricity in 2011 with renewable resources such as solar and wind energy.

Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks said Friday PNM’s plan to acquire certificates was legal and proper but that the PRC wants to prod utilities into making more electricity from renewable resources.

A PNM spokeswoman said the company would comply with the PRC order.

Utilities receive a certificate for every kilowatt hour they produce in New Mexico from renewable resources. The law requiring utilities to produce renewable electricity says they can produce the energy themselves, buy energy from another utility or buy certificates from other utilities. For example, a utility that has produced more renewable energy than required can sell its excess certificates to another utility.

PNM said in its request that biogas generation it is developing in Luna County was delayed and less wind energy is expected from its wind farm. PNM said it needs 250,000 kilowatt hours worth of certificates, which it expected to purchase from Southwestern Public Service Company, a company that sells power into eastern New Mexico.

Marks said PNM expected to spend from $5 million to $6 million to acquire certificates. He said the PRC wants PNM to spend that money buying wind-generated electricity instead.

“I want to see a real project that will add to New Mexico’s renewable energy supply,” Marks said. He added that PNM is in the process of developing new wind and solar energy power-generating stations.

“This (order) isn’t punishing PNM,” Marks said. “The commission just believes that under the circumstances something else is better for the state.” To see more of the Albuquerque Journal, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.abqjournal.com. Copyright (c) 2011, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

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