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Seet: Renewable Energy Options For Los Alamos

on March 6, 2019 - 2:00pm

The Kit Carson Electric Co-op in Taos. Courtesy/Nic Seet

By NICHOLAS SEET
Renewable Los Alamos

Turning on the light is such a trivial event that we barely consider how the energy must travel great distances from where powerful turbines – spun by the steam of boiling water, heated by burning coal – generate the power we need to live a comfortable, modern life.  

While this convenience has existed since the industrial revolution, the bill is finally coming due as our  global climate warms.

There was a meeting March 3 in Taos about the energy decisions the communities in the Kit Carson Electric Co-op (KCEC) service area made and how they are making them a reality.

The KCEC service area, including all of Taos County and parts of adjoining counties will be, within the next few years, 100 percent powered (during the day at first) by renewable energy – think solar farms, batteries and wind turbines.  

Solar arrays with battery storage are being built locally through 2022. Guzman Energy, KCEC’s wholesale electricity provider, both facilitates the solar array financing and construction, and purchases wind power and other renewable energy from the regional grid as part of KCEC’s energy mix.

In this meeting, Taos-area principals offered to their Los Alamos neighbors their story and the logic and logistics behind their actions to transition to renewable energy. Well ahead of the current urgent global trend to transition towards renewable energy, KCEC is freeing itself from a long-term coal contract, and engaging in various collaborations and initiatives to create infrastructure for solar and transmission projects.

The Los Alamos group took away many gems of insight which could well apply to Los Alamos.

The meeting was organized by William Brown, Consultant to Renewable Taos and Climate Reality Leader, of The Climate Reality Project: Northern New Mexico Chapter, who moderated the session and brought together many key energy providers and decision makers of the Taos region.  

We heard from several Taos speakers, including Luis A. Reyes Jr., CEO of the Kit Carson Electric Coop, the forward looking utility that listened to its members’ desire to go renewable; Darien Fernandez, of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC), about the need for partnerships on regional priorities; and Gary M. Ferguson of Renewable Taos on the regional power landscape in Northern New Mexico.  

Our Los Alamos representatives and speakers included Tim Glasco, Utilities Manager, and Steve Cummins,  Deputy Utilities Manager for Power Production; Los Alamos County Councilors, including Randall Ryti, RCLC Representative (alternate); members of the Board of Public Utilities and the Environmental Sustainability Board; and Steve Tobin, scientist and member of The Climate Reality Project, Northern New Mexico Chapter.

Their collective knowledge, communicated to an engaged audience from Los Alamos and Taos at the Kit Carson headquarters, has been recorded and documented at the website that was launched here: www.RenewableLosAlamos.org.

This site is designed to be a primer on energy issues facing Los Alamos, a resource for energy decision makers, and a grassroots community voice in Los Alamos to understand the issues and support a rapid transition away from fossil fuel.

The Los Alamos community has many issues to consider, some unique to Los Alamos and some common to neighboring regions in northern New Mexico. As New Mexico moves toward more progressive energy standards with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Executive Order on Climate Change and Energy Waste Prevention, and SB489 and other pro-climate bills making their way through the legislature, there is a convergence on renewable energy.

Community members interested in looking into and supporting the issues for Los Alamos’ transition towards renewable energies can leave their contact info at www.RenewableLosAlamos.org to receive updates and information on this important topic.

Renewable Los Alamos, www.RenewableLosAlamos.org, is a group advocating renewable energy options for Los Alamos County.


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