PRC restores solar energy credits

December 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

solarThe Public Regulation Commission in a 3-2 vote reversed itself Wednesday, restoring solar credits to their previous one-to-one status following a large outcry from the alternative energy community.

The PRC also voted to lower the “other” category (geothermal and biomass energy) from the three-to-one credits approved in November to two-to-one now.

The PRC last month voted to allow solar power credits to count two-to-one, effectively lessening the amount that energy utilities need to meet the legislatively approved renewable portfolio standard. The New Mexico Industrial Energy Users had sought the change.

Solar companies and solar energy advocates protested and threatened to take the commission to the state Supreme Court.

But Wednesday, PRC member Pat Lyons made the motion to restore the solar credits and was supported by the same two commissioners — Ben Hall and Theresa Becenti-Aguilar — who last time voted to dilute the credits.

Commissioners Valerie Espinoza and Karen Montoya were against the solar credit change last month and voted against the restoration Wednesday. They said the change came out of nowhere and there should be time for public input.

The Sierra Club, in a statement, said s olar energy and clean air got a reprieve Wednesday when the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted to withdraw 2-for-1 credit for solar energy.
But the vote left some troubling aspects of the previous commission ruling, the group said, criticizing the agency for acting without public comment on Nov. 20 and again Wednesday.

The PRC, also on Wednesday during its meeting in Santa Fe, approved Public Service Company of New Mexico’s alternative energy procurement plan.

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