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MAY 2012 - VOL. 28 NO. 5 (Continued on page 2.) by Jeannine Anderson, APPA Public Power Daily, March 23, 2012 More than 1,900 residents of Santa Fe, N.M. have signed a petition asking the city and county to look into the possibility of forming a municipal electric utility. At the same time, a regional planning board has authorized $25,000 for an economic feasibility study of creating a public power utility. The petition drive in favor of municipal power was organized by a local environmental group called Unicopia. "Show your support for the creation of a renewable municipal energy grid for Santa Fe and help move the community away from dirty coal as our energy source," says a note at SignOn.org encouraging area residents to sign the petition. Much of the electricity used by residents of Santa Fe is produced by the San Juan Power Station, a coal-fired plant owned by Public Service Co. of New Mexico, said Faren Dancer, the founder of Unicopia. The San Juan plant and another large coal-fired plant in New Mexico, the Four Corners Power Plant, are among the nation's most polluting coal plants, he said. "We have over 300 days of sunshine" in New Mexico, Dancer told APPA Public Power Daily. "We should be a leading edge power for renewable energy." Dancer built the Emerald Home, a zero-carbon footprint home in Santa Fe that was completed in 2009. Under a state law passed in 2007, Public Service Co. of New Mexico was supposed to be getting at least 10 percent of its power from renewable resources by this year, Dancer said. Instead, the utility is getting just 5 percent of its power from renewables, he said. Santa Fe, N.M. to look at feasibility of municipal power The Santa Fe Regional Planning Authority recently called for a feasibility study to be conducted by a not-for-profit group called New Energy Economy, said Santa Fe County Commissioner Kathy Holian. In addition to the $25,000 authorized by the planning board, New Energy Economy has received $10,000 in contributions toward the study, so it will have about $35,000 to spend on the study, said Holian. "We're looking at various scenarios," she said. "I think it is important to go forward." This is not the first time there has been interest in the city taking control of the local power system, said Nick Schiavo, energy specialist for the city. In 2008, Cibola Engineering did a feasibility study for the city and found that, from an engineering point of view, a municipal utility would work, he said. Some of the interest in municipal power reflects residents' interest in using more renewable energy, Schiavo said. Public Service Co. of New Mexico, the investor-owned utility that serves Santa Fe, relies on coal-fired power plants for 60 percent of its electricity, he said. The other fuels in the mix are nuclear, 30 percent; natural gas, 9 percent; and wind power, 1 percent, Schiavo said. Supporters of the effort to create a municipal utility see the possibility of using more power from the sun, he said. "We get 300 days of sun a year, and you can still find land for $1,000 an acre," he told APPA Public Power Daily. A 1-MW solar photovoltaic system in Santa Fe produced 2.5 million kilowatt-hours in its first year, or 30 percent to 40 percent more than would be produced by a comparable PV system on the East Coast, he said - because the sun shines more in New Mexico. In a January 23 editorial, "Powering up Santa Fe?" the Santa Fe New Mexican backed the idea of a municipal power grid. Powering up Santa Fe? by The New Mexican, January 22, 2012 The notion that Santa Fe - city and county together - should explore the ownership of an independent municipal power utility is intriguing. Right now, Santa Fe and most of the county receive their electricity from Public Service Co. of New Mexico. Most of that power, as we know, is generated from coal-fired power plants in northwestern New Mexico. Plants, by the way, that are known for the pollutants they emit as much as the jobs they bring to the Four Corners area. Local citizens think there might be a different way to bring electricity to Santa Fe and more than 1,500 people have signed a petition asking the City Council to study the idea - a renewable-energy municipal power utility owned by the public. That's a decent number of signatures, considering the driving force, local builder Faren Dancer, just started gathering names on January 12. Adding steam to the effort is this news from Santa Fe County Commissioner Kathy Holian: she says the joint city and county Regional Planning Authority has allocated $25,000 to study the idea. It's not unheard of for cities to own utilities. Santa Fe, for example, owns its own water company. Up on the Hill, Los Alamos County manages electricity, gas, water and waste for residents. Under that arrangement, PNM still owns the power lines, which Los Alamos then leases. The benefit to consumers is that the county can control its rates more closely, as well as push harder to develop alternative energy.
|Okla State Agency||
Municipal Power Authority, Oklahoma (OMPA)
|Okla Agency Code||'981'|
|Title||OMPA transmission, 05/2012, v.28 no.5|
Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
|Purpose||Santa Fe, N.M. to look at feasibility of municipal power|
|For all issues click||M2700.6 T772|
|Digital Format||PDF Adobe Reader required|
|ODL electronic copy||Downloaded from agency website: http://ompa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/May-20121.pdf|
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