April 30, 2012
PNM Plans More Renewable Energy From Geothermal, Solar and Wind
Albuquerque: PNM plans to add geothermal energy and more solar energy in 2013 and 2014, so that more of the total energy customers buy will come from renewable sources.
PNM's plan to meet the state renewable energy requirement, submitted today to state regulators for approval, nearly doubles PNM's ownership of solar facilities and also includes a proposal to continue the company's popular customer-installed solar program.
"Our plan includes a blend of resources. We've taken input from the solar community and others as we prepared this proposal because we know how important our customer-installed program has been to solar businesses in New Mexico," said PNM Senior Vice President of Public Policy Ron Darnell. "We also considered the resources we'll be adding in 2015 and beyond. We'll want to keep listening to our customers as we develop proposals for coming years."
Proposed New Energy Procurements for 2013 and 2014
PNM would install 20 megawatts (MW) of additional solar capacity, likely adding photovoltaic panels to existing facilities in Deming, Alamogordo and Los Lunas. PNM may also build a new facility in Valencia and/or Luna Counties. The company currently owns 22 MW of solar capacity.
PNM would enter into a 20-year power purchase agreement for the geothermal energy produced by a 10 MW facility to be built and operated by Lightning Dock Geothermal southwest of Lordsburg, N.M., and in service by January 2014.
PNM would set aside 9 MW for the customer-installed solar program and has submitted a program design that, if approved, would continue in effect through 2016.
PNM would also purchase in 2013 some renewable energy certificates, or RECs, associated with wind and solar energy produced in New Mexico. RECs are certificates created when renewable energy is produced for delivery in New Mexico.
According to Darnell, this plan takes into account not only the resources PNM will add next year, but positions the company to meet New Mexico's increasing renewable energy requirement, which jumps from 10 percent today to 15 percent in 2015. PNM proposed a blend of company ownership, energy purchases and REC purchases. Each type of purchase has a different benefit for the overall portfolio. For example, including some lower-cost wind REC purchases in the plan lets PNM build new solar and geothermal resources in 2013 that could be expanded in the future and still keep costs reasonable for customers.
PNM submitted its 2013 renewable plan to the N.M. Public Regulation Commission (PRC) in compliance with state law. If the plan is approved, PNM will meet the state's renewable energy quantity requirement of approximately 10 percent of retail sales (before required adjustments for large customers)*, be under the required cost caps, and meet the PRC's renewable energy diversity requirement in 2014.
While there is a cost for adding renewable energy resources each year, PNM avoids some fossil fuel costs, and helps protect the environment and create jobs.
The compliance cost of renewable energy for PNM customers in 2013 (which includes both new and existing renewable energy procurements) is projected to be $19.7 million. However, costs incurred to meet the state's renewable energy mandate after 2010 are not yet in customer bills. Customers could start to see costs for 2011 and 2012 as early as August, which for the average residential customer would be about $1.40.
Continuing PNM's Popular Solar Incentive Programs
Although PNM has exceeded the state's requirement that 1.5 percent of its total renewable energy portfolio be met through a customer-owned solar program, PNM proposes to continue the incentives that make solar more affordable for customers and submitted a new program design that gives solar contractors certainty to help them plan for their businesses.
The new program is similar to past programs where the customer benefits from net-metering and PNM pays customers for the renewable energy certificates or RECs associated with the energy from their grid-tied systems.
Highlights of the proposed program include:
PNM's REC prices have been declining as customers filled up approved capacity levels since 2010, however this has not adversely affected participation in PNM's program. Last year, PNM customers installed more solar panels on their homes and businesses than in the previous five years combined. Many agree that the price of solar panels is dropping. In fact, the price of PNM's own proposed solar project is more than 40 percent less than the same project just a few years ago.
Information about the renewable energy PNM customers already use, PNM's 2013 plan and its long-range resources plan are posted on PNM.com.
Participate in renewable energy discussions with PNM on Facebook and on Twitter at @PNMtalk.
* The 10 percent quantity requirement includes an adjustment that is made per the state's rule that sets a cost limit of 2 percent a year (adjusted to inflation) for customers with consumption exceeding 10 million kWh, requiring PNM to reduce the RPS to stay within the cost limit for these customers.
After the adjustment, PNM's RPS is 9.1 percent in 2013. Our RPS requirement is 8.9 percent in 2014. Our portfolio will result in renewable procurements equal to 9.3 percent in 2014, so we will bank the excess RECs.
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With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit PNM.com.