Santa Fe New Mexican

Use free sunshine


At this time, Public Service Company of New Mexico is looking at ways to replace the coal-fired generation at the San Juan power plant while also seeking permission from the Public Regulation Commission to buy some rather expensive nuclear power from the Palo Verde plant in Arizona. Lacking access to the nuclear power, PNM suggests it will build singlecycl­e natural gas-fired engines.

The PRC would do well to look at what another New Mexico utility is doing. Western Farmers Electric Coop serves co-ops here in Eastern New Mexico. WFEC has announced a wind/solar/battery storage project. It is large enough to serve one-third of PNM’s total load. WFEC is doing the project because it is easily cheaper than any available option and far cheaper than gas-fired energy. And it will be very reliable as the battery units can store night-timegenera­ted energy for use the following day. It’s time we awoke in here in New Mexico. Power in states to the east is far cheaper, and it is because the co-op uses free wind and sunshine.

Shane Woolbright Santa Fe

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