PRC votes for 100% “renewable” option, PNM says reliability will suffer

Recently, New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC) voted to tell Public Service Company of NM (PNM) to use 100% “renewable” sources to replace the soon-to-be-shuttered San Juan Generating Station.

Not surprisingly, the environmental left went nuts with glee.

But, what will happen to the rest of us? The following chart from the Energy Information Administration shows that non-hydro renewables are growing in popularity (thanks in part to subsidies and mandates) they remains a small overall portion of America’s electricity portfolio. Cost and reliability are the major factors of course.

While supporters claim the cost of 100% “renewables” will be competitive (we don’t believe them) experts’ main concerns involve reliability. Energy analyst Thomas Conroy:

highlighted two risks associated with it (100% renewables) — a rapid increase of renewable energy onto PNM’s system at a rate that he said has not occurred before and relying on battery storage.

Conroy said it would increase the amount of electricity PNM receives from renewables from 7% to 30% in three years and would need long-term battery storage, which is still a technology being developed and has unknown risks.

“If New Mexico suffers blackouts, it will become extremely ugly extremely quickly,” Conroy said.

These are similar concerns that PNM has brought up while proposing a combination of natural gas and renewables.

PNM spokesperson Ray Sandoval had also told NM Political Report that “natural gas is a necessary component of its transition to renewables because it offers backup reliability to help protect against grid failures when renewables may not be able to perform.”