Dear Friend & Supporter,
Happy International Women's Day!
We have 12 days left in the session. There are a lot of behind the scenes conversations and power plays happening right now. For the full list of calls to action, you can check out this document. See below for 2 pressing calls on Community Solar & Local Choice Energy!
+Art by @Tochtlita+
TODAY: Make Calls & Emails to House Energy Committee Members!
On Thursday, SB 84 Community Solar passed the Senate Floor, but last minute amendments were added that essentially take the most powerful components out of Community Solar. Now, SB 84 is scheduled for TOMORROW, TUESDAY 3/9 starting at 8 AM. The intention of the community solar bill - developed over years and recently vetted through a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process was to expand solar options for everyday New Mexicans from renters to homeowners, to businesses to so many others. We now have a utility-controlled model of community solar in the current version that introduced regulatory roadblocks and excluded municipalities, schools, religious organizations from participating, making the development of community solar arrays more expensive and less profitable for any solar developer. We want you to call and email House Energy Committee members to vote YES on Community Solar but make amendments regarding the following points. In your call/emails these are the pieces of Community Solar we want to reinstate, feel free to summarize or reword these in your emails.
Get rid of the addition of utility ownership. The point is to diversify not expand monopoly control
Get rid of the restriction on who can be a subscriber - cities, counties, and large businesses are great customers for community solar and have been working to create community solar - they shouldn't be excluded
Public Regulation Commission oversight is important to regulate monopoly utilities but isn't necessary for a voluntary market based program. We don't need red tape that'll make it impossible for the little guys to pursue this
The utilities shouldn't be able to challenge any proposal they want. Since they get to recover their legal costs by billing ratepayers they do not mind tying things up in legal challenges but that could mean prohibitive costs for solar developers. The utilities will use and abuse this measure to prevent projects
Rep. Matthew McQueen, chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 986-4423
Rep. Melanie Stansbury, vice chair, email@example.com, (505) 750-7079
Rep. Christine Chandler, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 695-2646
Rep. Meredith Dixon, email@example.com, (505) 401-8339
Rep. JoAnne Ferrary, firstname.lastname@example.org, (575) 649-1231
Rep. Rod Montoya, email@example.com, (505) 360-1510
Rep. Kristina Ortez, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 986-4254
Rep. Debra Sariñana, email@example.com, (505) 559-2200
Rep. Larry Scott, firstname.lastname@example.org, (575) 392-5960
Rep. James Strickler, email@example.com, (505) 327-4190
Rep. James Townsend, firstname.lastname@example.org, (575) 703-0153
Make Calls & Emails to Senate Taxation, Business & Transportation Members!
SB 83 Local Choice Energy Act, is scheduled in Senate Tax, Business, and Transportation Committee TOMORROW, Tuesday 3/9 starting around 1:30pm. Local Choice Energy opens up NM's electricity markets to competition and puts local communities in control of who supplies their energy. It would allow any local community to pool their electricity demand and create a local utility, who works with the investor owned utility in the service area to transmit and distribute that electricity. NM has two investor-owned (IOU) monopolies and a majority of residents in NM are forced to use PNM and El Paso electric even though we'd rather not pay for their gas, coal, or nuclear energy portfolios. The bill would make it legal for communities and Tribal Nations to create utilities and decide where our energy comes from, produce our own energy, and keep energy dollars circulating in our local and state economies instead of shipping energy profits off to Wall Street.
In the News!
Check out this great op-ed by Noah - our fearless YUCCA Intern about why energy democracy is so important as we face things like the climate change induced blackouts in TX.
The recent blackouts in Texas show how these extreme weather events lay bare the economic injustice caused by for-profit utilities.
Check out this article on the 16 Vote measure, which was amended to 17 Vote. “The ability to vote is one of many tools connected to the most powerful tool which is your valid experience and your ability to express that any way you can to liberate ourselves by any means necessary,” said Artisco Heritage Academy High School student, Isaiah Llamas.
Check out this profile on youth activists in Santa Fe County Kudos & Looking up to Artemisio, Sierra, ben, and Revely! Thank you SF Reporter for featuring some of the youth in our community putting in work. "Indeed, from climate change to social justice, youth activists across the country and in New Mexico have increasingly played vital roles, big and small, in addressing political, cultural and social change."
And check out this article by Bill McKibben on the importance of energy democracy
But we shouldn’t give up on the idea of democratizing energy ownership as much as possible: the sun and the wind are omnipresent, giving us a remarkable chance of reducing the influence wielded by those who control the energy supplies.