Peter Goodman’s June 16th guest column revealed how little he knows about electrical engineering or how renewables will destabilize our electric grid. Instead, Goodman focused on smearing Rep. Rod Montoya’s and Larry Behrens’ earlier editorials.
Yet it was Montoya who attempted to protect New Mexicans from electric rate increases of 100 and 200 percent(!) as a result of the “Energy Transition Act” (ETA) recently passed. Montoya’s amendments would have limited yearly electric rate increases, saving poor and middle class rate-payers millions, but got shot down by Democrats in the pockets of big renewable special interests. Meanwhile, New Mexico Energy Czar Sarah Cottrell Propst will be overseeing billion dollar transfers from New Mexico citizens into the pockets of renewables industry executives who are currently circling our state like sharks. Clearly Montoya has our backs, and Goodman does not.
We’ve already seen examples of the rich getting richer from this law. Following the money, first El Paso Electric gave Rep. Doreen Gallegos’ 2018 campaign a $2,000 donation. Gallegos, the Democratic majority whip, then guided the ETA to passage. Now, J.P. Morgan has purchased EPE, netting top EPE executives big bonuses. Next, J.P. Morgan will reap huge profits when natural-gas generators are decommissioned and replaced by unreliable (mandated!) solar and wind farms.
Goodman parrots the talking points of these renewables carpet-baggers when he claims this “renewables” system will be “reliable, cost-effective and diverse.” First, this word “diverse” is a lie because the law deliberately excludes almost all of Palo Verde’s carbon-free power. This fact alone reveals how disingenuous this “sell job” has been.
Second, renewable solar/wind farms are not reliable. Providing needed power on demand is the mainstay of any reliable network. Solar/wind farms only supply power when they “feel” like it, which occurs only around a third of the time. Imagine hiring someone who only shows up to work every few days. That’s not what I’d call reliable. To compensate, four times as much “nameplate” solar/wind as needed must be installed. That’s inefficient. Even then, this chaotic system at times produces far too much power, and at others none at all!
When not producing, unlike California’s hydro-electric dams, New Mexico would need to rely on massive battery arrays with life spans of only seven years! This means more expensive, dead (and toxic) lithium/cobalt batteries piling up yearly. And the banks needed to power our state would need to be about 50 times greater in storage capacity than the planet’s current largest battery bank, Elon Musk’s 129-mega-watt-hour installation in South Australia! Even just to supply two-thirds of southern New Mexico’s nightly usage of 960 mega-watts-hours would require five arrays the size of this largest array (assuming average winds powered the remaining third). Yearly battery replacements for the full system would exceed $500 million!
Then, when renewables producing too much power, some claim we could sell the excess. But California has already tried this, and instead of buying the excess, Arizona charged California to take the excess off their hands. Otherwise, the excess power damages the grid itself.
Along with the dead batteries, wind turbines also wear out. Anyone travelling through Palm Springs can see the many aging, rusting wind behemoths frozen in place. Solar panels likewise have limited, 25-year lifespans, requiring replacement. So even the term “renewable” is misleading.
Unless we reverse this law we will be leaving our children to clean up this giant mess, while bankrupting the state, and making both outsiders and political insiders rich. Far better to move toward safe and clean nuclear technologies which have better safety track records than wind power.
David Tofsted, Ph.D., was the 2018 Republican candidate for District 36 representative to the New Mexico State House.