August 8, 2019
Letters, New Mexico

Beyond wind and solar

Roswell Daily Record | August 6, 2019 |

I can’t believe anyone actually thinks New Mexico can decarbonize by 2050. That is exactly what the state is trying to do with their Clean Energy Transition Act (CETA) which plans to replace fossil fuels for generating electricity with non-fuel intermittent based wind and solar energy assisted by natural gas (oops, that’s stored carbon).

New Mexico regulators are just now charting the CETA requirements into two parallel paths, one to determine how to finance and implement the decommissioning of the coal fire power plants up near the Four Corners and the second path to determine how to replace the lost electricity from those closures.

PNM is just now conducting presentations up in Farmington of how the customers on the west side of the state are going to save money under the CETA guidelines. Xcel is building hundreds of wind turbines on the east side of the state with the promise of lower customer electricity cost at the same time asking the state for a rate increase to finance building the wind farm per the CETA requirements.

Let me start this off with an example of power density: “No amount of marketing could change the poor physics of resource-intensive and land-intensive renewables. Solar farms take 450 times more land than nuclear power plants, and wind farms take 700 times more land than natural gas wells, to produce the same amount of energy.” – Michael Shellenberger, Environmental Progress.

What that is truly saying is that the enchanted lands of New Mexico will become the industrial landscape of New Mexico.

So the real question becomes, why are we investing multi-billion dollars in an energy source that only has a 30-year life span at best before we have to replace it in 2050? CETA has no provision for replacement cost (more taxpayer subsidies) or a clean-up fund (rate payer capital bonds) for decommissioning and storage of the toxic materials as they are retired.

If you thought the ‘unused’ rusting farm equipment laying all over the countryside is an eyesore, wait until to see the rusting wind turbines and solar panels spewed all over the place.

At least the farmers can hide their waste.

Martin Kral

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