Study: Fossil fuel groups targeting solar industry

A study by an environmental group says fossil fuel industry interests are aiming at taking down the growing solar energy industry. The local branch of the group says New Mexico has been resistant to these attempts. Environment America released a study on Tuesday looking at the way these groups attempt to head off solar industry. […]

Study: Fossil fuel groups targeting solar industry

A study by an environmental group says fossil fuel industry interests are aiming at taking down the growing solar energy industry. The local branch of the group says New Mexico has been resistant to these attempts.

Photo Credit: Walmart Corporate cc
Photo Credit: Walmart Corporate cc

Environment America released a study on Tuesday looking at the way these groups attempt to head off solar industry.

The study placed blame at the feet of organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a controversial conservative group that allows close ties between corporate interests and legislators.

While New Mexico is not specifically mentioned in the report, outside of a reference in the footnotes, Environment New Mexico sees this as a local issue.

“ALEC aggressively generates anti-renewable energy model legislation in an attempt to undermine solar power in places like New Mexico,” said Carly Poremba of Environment New Mexico in a statement. “Our report underscores just how extensively they promote the use of this tactic across the country.”

In a short interview, Poremba noted that New Mexico has been relatively friendly to solar.

“Fortunately in New Mexico, there have been a few efforts but they haven’t been tremendously successful,” she said.

Legislation related to weakening New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard has popped up throughout recent years.

New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard currently requires that 15 percent of energy come from renewable sources; by 2020, that will go up to 20 percent. Legislation that passed the House this year would have repealed the 2020 standard. It did not pass the Senate.

Environment New Mexico says that New Mexico’s per-capita solar capacity has gone up by 37 percent in the last two years.

Solar tax credit

The group cites policies such as the 10 percent tax credit for the installation of solar systems for not only residential units but also commercial and agricultural.

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed an attempt to extend this tax credit without explanation this year. The tax credit is slated to end in 2016. The bill that passed would have extended the tax credit to 2024 but reduced it from 10 percent to 5 percent from 2019 to 2024.

State Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, sponsored the legislation to extend the tax credit in this year’s legislative session.

“It is imperative that we extend this credit during the legislative session next year in order to ensure that this opportunity is maintained for all New Mexicans for years to come,” Stewart said in a statement.

As for this year, Peramba says Stewart is willing to carry the legislation again.

“She’s willing and open to sponsoring it,” Peramba said. “We’re hoping that it will get through he legislature.”

The legislation would be similar to the legislation that passed in the 2015 session according to Peramba.

Fees for solar customers

While environmental groups say these efforts have helped New Mexico’s solar industry grow, the Environment America study found some pushes around the country that they say undermine the solar industry.

One happened in New Mexico’s neighbor to the west, Arizona. Arizona Public Service has imposed fees on customers who install solar units. The state’s largest utility is seeking to hike those fees.

APS argues that the fees would help with the costs of maintaining the power grid.

The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) sought to impose similar charges. This prompted backlash from environmental groups and others, including Attorney General Hector Balderas.

Poremba said that, “there was just too much public to cry against it” when PNM proposed the fee.

In May, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) rejected a rate hike that would have included the solar fees.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will call the Legislature into a special session this summer to address public safety legislation that did…
Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized its controversial public lands rule on Thursday. This rule is controversial because it allows for conservation leasing…
Haaland signs order protecting sacred lands near Placitas

Haaland signs order protecting sacred lands near Placitas

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed an order on Thursday to withdraw more than 4,200 acres of land in Sandoval County near Placitas from mineral…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury announced a bill on Thursday that would, if enacted, establish judicial ethics to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Judicial Ethics…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
New Mexico Voices for Children has new leadership

New Mexico Voices for Children has new leadership

New Mexico Voices for Children, an organization that focuses on tax policy and how it impacts children in poverty, has new leadership. Gabrielle Uballez…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report