Plan to cost typical New Mexicans at least $200 per month more in higher bills, taxes.
As a citizen who wants the best for the people of this state, I am deeply concerned about Michelle Lujan Grisham's plan to increase our solar and wind dependence to 80% by 2040. Based on several estimates of this plan, it would cost typical rate payers at least $200 extra per month in increased taxes or higher electric bills.
This plan, first proposed in 2017 by Rep. Nathan Small in Senate Bill 312, is now the cornerstone of Michelle Lujan Grisham's gubernatorial energy platform.
We all agree that solar and wind power can contribute to solving our energy needs, especially since Chinese solar panel costs have dropped dramatically. However, to reach 80% renewables, massive purchases of out-of-state manufactured copper wiring, steel and aluminum mounts, transformers, and batteries would be necessary.
Subsidies make solar and wind renewables appear cheap, yet subsidized installation costs have not kept California's electric rates from skyrocketing. While our electric rates stand at 11 cents per kilo-Watt-hour (c/kWh), California's rates are as high as 45 c/kWh! Likewise, heavily wind-invested Germany's electric rates are 35 c/kWh.
These high rates occur due to integration costs. Solar and wind power sources are "non-dispatchable;" they cannot be controlled. Instead, the total system must be modified to accommodate these fluctuating renewable sources.
Of course, every problem has a solution, but each new fix adds a new expense and more complexity, leaving the system more unstable (think Jurassic Park).
As more renewables are added, ever more costly adjustments are needed. In particular, storage batteries would add tens of billions of dollars to the cost. Backups are necessary to reach 80%, but the cheapest accommodation, hydroelectric power, is impractical in New Mexico.
Yet even with abundant water resources, and at only 30% renewables, California and Germany are already experiencing skyrocketing electric costs. Imagine the cost of reaching 80% without such water reservoirs. Are we so arrogant as to assume we will succeed where every other state has failed?
Like Spain that lost 2.2 private sector jobs for every wind-power job created, this project could easily send our economy plummeting. And what would motivate businesses to relocate here? Meanwhile, what would happen to other urgent funding priorities forsaken as $2.5 billion per year is diverted to this high-risk venture?
One might imagine that reasonable politicians would not seek to saddle our state with such a plan. Yet Democrats have adopted the same PR tactics used in selling us the Rail-Runner, originally touted as costing only $125 million but that eventually cost $500 million. Essentially the Grisham/Small plan would involve making FIVE Rail-Runner-sized mistakes PER YEAR for 20 years.
Our children deserve a better, more secure future, not such reckless schemes. This is why we cannot afford to elect Michelle Lujan Grisham or her allies like Nathan Small.
Full plan analysis: http://www.davet4nm36.com/michelle-grishams-sky-high-electric-bill-plan/
David Tofsted, Ph.D
Candidate for NM House District 36