2011 has been a very active year for REIA. The REIA Board has met monthly since January. During the 2011 legislative session REIA drafted permitting legislation to address statewide permitting standards. REIA also successfully opposed PNM led efforts to shift burdens to consumers in the form of fixed cost recovery fees.
PRC hearings continue to demand REIA’s time and resources. In the face of changing utility tactics, we have had to step up with resources, time, and energy. REIA continues to pressure PNM to live up to it’s legal obligation under the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Initially, a single REIA board member was assigned to keep track of the PRC, then two, now a REIA subcommittee is tasked with staying on top of PRC filings. The investor-owned utilities and their legal teams are well funded. REIA’s position, in contrast, is drafted by volunteers and our paperwork was paid for by a second round of fundraising for special projects.
Thank you to everyone who contributed — without your dues REIA would not have a place a the bargaining table. REIA benefits from strategic alliances with New Mexico Independent Power Producers, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and The Green Chamber, which allow us to leverage common interests and further pool resources.
While the economy is still weak, renewable energy in New Mexico continues to be one of the few bright spots, still a growth leader for jobs. The REIA committee on Statewide-Standards for Permitting has added solar thermal to their 4-page permit system for photovoltaic and will now start a statewide campaign to have the new system adopted. Discussions continue with the NM Construction Industry Division. Explorations with the city of Albuquerque for DOE-funded permit review did not pan out, but we continue to work with the city to clear the path for businesses.
REIA’s strongest partnership with the Martinez administration is the drive to simplify the business-killing bureaucracy that is currently slowing so many of our installers as they try and pull permits. This administration has been uniquely insular, but REIA continues efforts to direct the Governors’ attention to this important issue. We are the largest job creating engine in the state currently and deserve strong government attention in efforts to streamline and support our vital energy industry.
Looking ahead we expect to see efforts in the 2012 short session to roll back progress with the PRC, which we will oppose vigorously. 2011 has been REIA’s strongest year in terms of member fundraising, and we should be in a strong position heading into 2012.