Project Focus: PNM reaches agreement for 80MW in New Mexico

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New Mexico is set to reach its target for renewable energy as an agreement for approximately 80MW is reached between PNM and several other environmental and renewable energy groups for one of the largest expansions of solar energy in the state.

The New Mexico law requires PNM and other electric utilities to make 10% of the energy they generate renewable by 2011. This agreement will help to reach this goal by expanding the incentives for customer-owned solar installations that could grow participation to 24MW, which is 11 times the current installed capacity.

Approximately 10MW will come from PNM-owned solar facilities located at government and tax-exempt facilities currently unable to take advantage of solar construction. PNM will also enter into utility-scale solar construction with up to 45MW of PNM-owned solar facilities installed at sites across the state.

Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM president and COO said, “We believe this new plan will provide a greater growth opportunity for solar while still minimizing the overall cost impact to customers.”

“This agreement shows a serious commitment on behalf of PNM to develop a distributed generation industry in New Mexico. The proposed plan will help New Mexico meet its economic development goals, creating green jobs and an infrastructure that will allow clean energy business to thrive for years to come,” said Brian Cassutt, board member of the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico and finance director for Consolidated Solar Technologies. “This is a crucial step in making New Mexico a leader in solar energy.”

The New Mexico plans were originally filed back on July 1, 2009, yet the PNM agreed to re-file parts of it at a later date to allow more time to incorporate input from these groups. As part of the original filing, PNM will continue to pursue the biogas project it proposed in July to help meet the state renewable requirement.

Once the plans have gained PRC approval, PNM will begin construction of the new large-scale solar facilities. This could happen as early as mid-2010, with the first project operational by early 2011. The customer-owned facilities will be operational later this year if PRC approval is obtained within six months.

Parties to the agreement currently include, Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy (CCAE), New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico (REIA), Everguard Roofing and Solar, Western Resource Advocates (WRA).

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