"Last year (2015) was the warmest year on record - by far". Piers Sellers, NASA Earth Sciences Director
temperature in July 2016 was the warmest ever recorded (ie since the late 1800's).
Climate scientists forecast more floods like those in Louisiana and the Carolina's.
"The biggest change we will see in the next 25 years is the transition to a low-carbon energy future".
Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute
The January 2016 COP21 "summit" in Paris resulted in a “historic”
multi-nation agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a voluntary
agreement, but a framework will be established to measure & report each
country’s emissions & progress in reducing them. The formal agreement was signed by 174 countries in April.
JP Morgan Chase
joined Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley in announcing that they
would significantly reduce financing for coal-fired power plants.
Oregon Gov Kate Brown recently signed a bill requiring Oregon to eliminate coal from its energy supply by 2030, and requiring utilities to provide 50% of their power from RE sources by 2040. Oregon has lots of hydro-power.
In northeast Wyoming, the huge coal mining operations are slowing, and significant layoffs are underway.
In April, coal giant Peabody Energy filed for bankruptcy, following in the footsteps of other major coal companies like Arch Coal, Patriot Coal, Walter Energy and Alpha Natural Resources.
Federal Tax Credits
An extension of the Federal renewable energy tax credits was passed as a part of the Dec 2015 Federal budget deal. This will result in significantly more solar & wind capacity being installed in the US.
Clean Energy Investments
2015 was a record year for global investment in
clean energy, with $ 329 billion invested in wind, solar panels, biomass plants
and more around the world. Fully one-third of the 2015 clean energy investment
occurred in China. That country saw investments of $ 110.5 billion last year.
The United States was second with $ 56 billion.
But in spite of these investments some RE companies are struggling. SunEdison, one of the big players, filed for bankruptcy in late April. The Spanish multinational solar & biofuel giant, Abengoa, is in "restructuring" proceedings.
Solar Goes BIG in California
The Desert Sunlight & Topaz Solar Farms, located in the Mojave Desert east of Palm Springs, came online in early 2015. At 550 MW each, they are the two largest PV solar power plants in the world.
The 377 MW Ivanpah Concentrating Solar-Thermal plant, located in the Mojave Desert, officially opened in mid-Feb, 2014. Ivanpah uses a "power-tower" design. It does not currently include thermal storage. It's a hybrid design which requires the use of natural gas to get things started every morning. By late spring of 2016, Ivanpah had still not met its performance targets, and its owners, which include Google, were forced to pay penalties because the terms of the project's power purchase agreement were not being met. Google has since "lost interest" in large scale solar thermal projects in favor of PV. Ivanpah is working, but not well enough to encourage replication.
San Francisco has just passed an ordinance requiring solar PV on all new buildings.
Hawaii has ended its Net-Metering policy, eliminating a major incentive for rooftop solar PV system owners.
Arizona has imposed extra fees on grid-tied roof-top solar system owners.
Nevada's newly appointed Utility Commissioners approved severe retro-active penalties for rooftop solar system owners. Solar installation & financing businesses are abandoning Nevada. Tesla's new battery Giga-Factory, which is sceduled to come online in 2017, is stuck there.
NM PRC Decisions
The NM Public Regulatory Commission regulates all public utilities in New Mexico. On Dec 16, 2015 the PRC approved the final San Juan Generating Station Plan to retire 2 of the 4 San Juan coal-fired units in order to meet EPA pollution rules. On September 28, 2016 the PRC made a final ruling on the very contentious 2015 PNM Rate Case, approving just over half of PNM's requested increase. For more detailed info about both of these cases go to our Advocacy Page.
NM State Legislature
2016 30 day “Short Session” ended without approval of the bill to extend the state tax credit for RE. NM's 10% tax credit for residential solar will expire at the end of 2016. The actual funds that support the PV portion of this tax credit were completely used up by July. The solar thermal (solar hot water/heating) portion of this tax credit is still available thru the end of 2016.
Two of the four coal-fired generating units at the San Juan Generating Station will be shut down as part of the EPA San Juan Stipulation Agreement. Peabody Energy, which declared bankruptcy in April, owns two coal mines near Grants, which they have tried & failed to sell. Peabody's shares have dropped in value by 99% since 2008. Meanwhile, PNM Resources, which "owns" PNM, is investing in coal.
On September 19, the Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling for the City to get 25% of the power for city facilities from solar sources within 9 years.
Confronting Climate Change in NM
The Latest NMSEA Videos on YouTube
The full 13-part Renewable New Mexico Video Series plus information-packed Seminar Presentations from the Spring & Fall 2014 Solar Fiestas are now on the NMSEA YouTube Channel. John Perlin, the author of Let it Shine: the 6,000-Year History of Solar Energy, was the keynote speaker at the 2015 NMSEA Solar Fiesta. John was interviewed by ASES Passive Solar Pioneer Architect Mark Chalom. Take a look by selecting the NMSEA YouTube Channel link.
NMSEA Local Chapters
Local NMSEA Chapters in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Silver City, Alamogordo, Los Alamos, Las Vegas and Taos participate in community events & organize regular meetings. Check out the What's Happening - News & Events link and the NMSEA Chapters links for more info.
NMSEA is an active State Chapter of the
American Solar Energy Society.
We encourage all of our members to join ASES.
ASES is offering a discount on combined ASES & NMSEA memberships! Check out the ASES Website link for details.