Before You Buy an EV...
Filling up on coal and natural gas
Turns out, making an “energy transition” isn’t so easy. It’s something for car buyers to think about, as sticker shock at the pump has many considering electric options.
In 2019, Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a law that put New Mexico’s draconian renewable portfolio standard on steroids. It set a “green” goal of “50 percent by 2030 for … investor-owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives and … 80 percent by 2040, in addition to setting zero-carbon resources standards for investor-owned utilities by 2045 and rural electric cooperatives by 2050.”
With “environmentalists” and their media enablers touting how inexpensive renewables have become, and the Land of Enchantment so rich in wind and sunshine, why mandates were ever needed continues to be a mystery. Nonetheless, lawmakers laid down the no-exceptions dictate, and the governor enthusiastically signed SB 489.
But initial 2021 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that New Mexico has a very long way to go to be rid of its carbon curse.
Source: The Rock of Talk analysis of EIA data
Coal and natural gas, combined, accounted for 63.9 percent of all juice generated in the state last year. Wind produced 30.2 percent of power, and solar grabbed a rather paltry 5.0 percent share. (The remainder came from hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass, and petroleum.)
However difficult it is for greenie-weenies to accept, the wind does not always blow, and the sun does not always shine.
For example, wind power is notorious for failing to report for duty when it’s needed most — i.e., during air-conditioning season. And in 2021, New Mexico generated just 18.8 percent of its power from wind in July and August — a 37.7 percent drop from the all-year figure.
Dispatchable sources of electricity — primarily coal employing strong “pollution-control technologies” and clean-burning natural gas — make the most sense for New Mexico. (And much of the rest of the world.) But at the Roundhouse, eco-alarmists rule with unchecked authority, and what they want, they get.
A Tesla in the driveway looks good to the neighbors, in Corrales and Taos. They don’t know that the vehicle is powered, largely, by coal and natural gas. But what does that matter? Virtue-signaling is about optics, not facts.
To replace 114 MW of Palo Verde nuclear power, PNM had to purchase 4x as much solar plus 2.5x storage, and no wind power. That almost 6 sq mi of solar farms. See KRWG article "PNM cites ETA in proposing 100% solar and storage to replace nuclear."
To reach an ETA target of 50% renewable by 2030, New Mexico would need to replace another 420 MW of coal & natural gas with 4x as much solar. At 8 acres per MW, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this would require 21 square miles of solar farms!
Meanwhile, thanks to the generosity of the Permian Basin, New Mexico has surpassed North Dakota to become the #2 largest oil producing state as of Oct 2021.
Source: EIA state rankings.