Originally published on ILSR.org.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Energy Transition Act (SB 489) in 2019, which introduced the idea of a community solar program, and also mandated that New Mexico move to 50% renewable energy by 2030. However, New Mexico’s community solar program was truly born in 2021, when the Community Solar Act (SB 84) established New Mexico’s official program.
After a three-hour filibuster, the Community Solar Act (SB 84) passed on April 5, 2021. The act authorized community solar projects in the state and requires that 30 percent of each community solar facility serves low-income households. The first three years of the program are capped at 200 megawatts of total generating capacity. This total does not include native community solar projects or rural electric distribution cooperatives. The bill defines “native community solar projects’ ‘ as facilities located on native land that is owned or operated by “an Indian nation, tribe, or pueblo or a tribal entity or in partnership with a third-party entity.” This addresses ILSR’s third principle: that any community solar policy must be additive, rather than detract from any existing renewable energy policy. Subscriptions can supply up to 100% of subscribers’ average annual electricity consumption.
New Mexico is the second sunniest state in the United States, with an average of 300 days per year of sunshine. This climate makes the state a prime candidate for solar power. Early estimates suggest that New Mexico’s community solar program should be up and running by Spring 2022. The Community Solar Act requires that the Public Regulation Commission finalize the rules process by April 1, 2022.
In addition to investor-owned utilities, third parties can own community solar facilities ( fulfilling the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s second principle of successful community renewable energy, flexibility). The system is regulated through renewable energy certificates. In the case of community solar facilities, these certificates are actually owned by the electric utility to which the facility is interconnected. These certificates may be traded or sold, and serve as proof of compliance with New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard. The community solar program will help to fulfill New Mexico’s requirement that investor-owned utilities are carbon-free by 2045 and 2050, respectively.
A study by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research predicts that the community solar project will be a massive boost to New Mexico’s economy. For a small state, the numbers are staggering: 3,760 jobs over the next five years, $517 million in economic benefits, $147 million in labor income, and $2.9 million yearly in tax revenue. Community Solar also offers excellent benefits to small and medium sized landowners, like local farms, many of whom do not possess the amount of property necessary to host a full-scale solar plant. Additionally, projects can partner with local farms and offer landowners revenue for leasing space to solar gardens.
In addition to the boons to New Mexico’s economy as a whole, individual subscribers will receive meaningful benefits. Utilities must provide credits to subscribers for at least twenty-five years after interconnection. The credit rate is proportional to the kilowatt-hour production of their share of the facility, and is “derived from the qualifying utility’s aggregate retail rate on a per customer-class basis”. That amount is then credited to the subscriber’s bill from the provider. If a subscriber uses less than their allotted credit’s worth of electricity in a given month, the surplus amount is applied to their next month.
The program has yet to start, but based on these factors and predictions, New Mexico’s plan passes the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s first principle for successful community renewable energy, tangible benefits.
Promoting Indigenous Power
Tribal lands cover 10% of New Mexico, the third highest of any state. There are already multiple small-scale tribal owned solar facilities, including a 115 KW system for the Santo Domingo Tribe. Native community solar gardens are exempted from the overall cap and the individual 100% of average annual consumption limits. The Act states further that “nothing in the Community Solar Act shall preclude an Indian nation, tribe, or pueblo from using financial mechanisms other than subscription models, including virtual and aggregate net-metering, for native community solar projects.
Access To All
Beyond the Indigenous-focused pieces, the program contains further components designed to ensure access for a wide variety of subscribers, fulfilling ILSR’s fourth principle. All subscriber material must be printed in English, Spanish, and, if applicable, native or Indigenous languages. New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission vows to seek input from a variety of stakeholders, which the Act notes includes “low-income stakeholders … disproportionately impacted communities … (and) Indian nations, tribes, and pueblos.” The program’s 30 percent capacity carveout for low-income subscribers compares favorably with other programs.
For more on solar in New Mexico, check out these ILSR resources:
Learn more about community solar in one of these ILSR reports:
For podcasts, videos, and more, see ILSR’s community renewable energy archive.
Featured photo credit: formulanone via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
This guy built a six-seater electric bike for $150, and it absolutely rips
I’ve always enjoyed multi-seater electric bikes, which bring passenger-carrying utility to small-format, easy-to-produce vehicles. But I never thought I’d see the concept taken this far. At least not until I stumbled upon a six-seater electric bike that has me all kinds of jealous.
It’s no surprise where this custom e-bike originated. If you want to see the most creative and ingenious transportation solutions in the world, you have to head over to Asia.
The Chinese often get a lot of credit for some of the more wacky vehicles popping up on Alibaba, but India usually takes the cake with some of the coolest auto and motorcycle innovation on the planet. And that’s exactly where this impressive six-seater bike comes from, where it was hand-built by Ashhad Abdullah from Lohra in eastern India.
Abdullah seems to have caught my recent Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week entry for a three-seater electric bike and said “Hold my lassi.”
Instead of a three-seater, Abdullah doubled the capacity to six seats. His stretch-limousine electric bike looks like it wears a scooter fork on front complete with drum brake, off-road lighting kit, and even a motorcycle horn. The rear seems to hold a hub motor wheel in a swingarm supported by dual coilover shocks. There’s a battery box mounted just in front of the swingarm, though how much capacity he’s rocking seems to be a mystery.
Bridging the two ends of the bike is a bespoke ladder frame with six seats, six handlebars, and six pairs of foot pegs.
There’s no word on the turning radius, but we’d wager it’s somewhere around the width of the state of Bihar.
Abdullah created the custom-designed bike after climbing fuel prices made petrol-powered motorcycles less appealing. In total, he says the bike cost him around 12,000 INR (US $150) to build.
It gets a range of around 150 km (93 miles) and costs around 10 INR (US $0.12) to recharge.
I’m not sure if this is technically an e-bike, at least by electric bicycle standards. It certainly looks like a tandem-style bicycle setup with bicycle seats, but the lack of pedals means it would be classified more like an electric scooter or motorcycle.
But whatever you call it, the six-seater bike has received a warm reception around the world.
The novel creation went viral on Twitter after a video of it in action was reposted by Anand Mahindra, the chairman of Mahindra Group, one of the largest automakers in India (and similar in size to GM).
It’s unlikely we’d see an awesome ride like this in the West, where safety regulations and an unhealthy aversion to two wheels would likely make this six-seater dead on arrival.
I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to argue with the safety concerns, especially when seeing six helmet-less heads and a few bare feet as well.
There are some good alternatives available in the US, at least if you’re alright with just two-seater e-bikes. But with options like a $999 Lectric XP 3.0 or a $1,499 RadRunner helping put more riders on smaller electric vehicles, the chances for sharing the fun on e-bikes are growing, even in laggard countries like the US.
We may never get six bodies on one bike, but even two would be a good start!
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Tesla launches in Thailand, opens Model 3 and Y orders at competitive prices
Tesla has officially launched in Thailand and opened orders for Model 3 and Model Y at competitive prices.
It has been a little while since Tesla has expanded into a brand-new market. The company was trying hard to enter the Indian market for years, but the effort was put on hold earlier this year after negotiations with the government stalled.
A few weeks later, we learned that Tesla’s new market team turned its attention to Southeast Asia, and more specifically Thailand.
The automaker filed to register its product for sale in the country. That was the first indication that Tesla planned to enter the market.
In September, we reported that Tesla started to hire in Thailand – indicating that a launch was imminent.
Today, Tesla has officially launched its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Thailand with a small event in a luxury mall in central Bangkok.
The automaker has started taking orders through a new Thai configurator for those two models. Tesla is offering all variants of the Model 3 and Model Y for sale in Thailand:
The Model 3 starts at ฿1,759,000 in Thailand, which is the equivalent of about $50,000 USD and fairly competitive compared to other luxury EVs in the market.
The Model Y starts ฿1,959,000, or about $58,000 USD.
Interestingly, while Tesla is starting to take orders through the new configurator, the automaker doesn’t list expected delivery windows in the country.
While we don’t know when official deliveries from Tesla will start in Thailand, there are already a decent number of Tesla electric vehicles in the country.
They have been imported privately by the owners – and that’s a factor that Tesla takes into account when considering entering a new market. If many people are willing to go through the trouble of importing the vehicle, there’s a good chance that there’s a market for its vehicles in the country.
We even reported on the Thai police buying a fleet of Tesla Model 3 vehicles for police patrol back in 2020, pictured above.
The Thai auto market is more significant than most people would think. More than 750,000 cars were sold in the market last year, and it is expected to ramp up to 800K–900K this year. However, most of those vehicles are not in the same price range as Tesla vehicles.
Thailand is also a vehicle assembly hub with up to 2 million vehicles produced locally per year.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
U.S. pledges to ramp up supplies of natural gas to Britain as Biden and Sunak seek to cut off Russia
Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden photographed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Indonesia on Nov. 16, 2022.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON — The U.K. and U.S. are forming a new energy partnership focused on boosting energy security and reducing prices.
In a statement Wednesday, the U.K. government said the new partnership would “drive work to reduce global dependence on Russian energy exports, stabilise energy markets and step up collaboration on energy efficiency, nuclear and renewables.”
The U.K.-U.S. Energy Security and Affordability Partnership, as it’s known, will be directed by a U.K.-U.S. Joint Action Group headed up by officials from both the White House and U.K. government.
Among other things, the group will undertake efforts to make sure the market ramps up supplies of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. to the U.K.
“As part of this, the US will strive to export at least 9-10 billion cubic metres of LNG over the next year via UK terminals, more than doubling the level exported in 2021 and capitalising on the UK’s leading import infrastructure,” Wednesday’s announcement said.
“The group will also work to reduce global reliance on Russian energy by driving efforts to increase energy efficiency and supporting the transition to clean energy, expediting the development of clean hydrogen globally and promoting civil nuclear as a secure use of energy,” it added.
Commenting on the plans, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We have the natural resources, industry and innovative thinking we need to create a better, freer system and accelerate the clean energy transition.”
“This partnership will bring down prices for British consumers and help end Europe’s dependence on Russian energy once and for all.”
The news comes at a time of huge disruption within global energy markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The Kremlin was the biggest supplier of both natural gas and petroleum oils to the EU in 2021, according to Eurostat, but gas exports from Russia to the European Union have been signifciantly reduced this year. The U.K. left the EU on Jan. 31, 2020.
Major European economies have been trying to reduce their own consumption and shore up supplies from alternative sources for the colder months ahead — and beyond.
Top CEOs from the power industry have forecast that turbulence in energy markets is likely to persist for some time. “Things are extremely turbulent, as they have been the whole year, I would say,” Francesco Starace, the CEO of Italy’s Enel, told CNBC last month.
“The turbulence we’re going to have will remain — it might change a little bit, the pattern, but we’re looking at one or two years of extreme volatility in the energy markets,” Starace added.
Sports1 year ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Politics1 year ago
Yvette Cooper promoted and Lisa Nandy to shadow Gove on levelling up brief in Labour reshuffle
Politics1 year ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?
Politics1 year ago
Govt minister says she ‘doesn’t believe’ Stanley Johnson inappropriately touched MP
Environment1 year ago
Sprinting Into An Integrated Cleantech Future
Business2 months ago
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng insists government ‘protecting people across UK’ with mini-budget announcement
Business2 months ago
Liz Truss’s ‘favourite’ economist says chancellor ‘took his eye off ball’ and ‘overstepped the mark’ with mini-budget
Politics1 year ago
‘It’s going to be a great Christmas’: Defiant Javid defends not imposing stricter restrictions to combat new variant