Today’s post is pretty short, but packs a wallop with Part II of a three part video “conversation” focused on Less is More, links to Rethink Our Democracy actions and events, a call to action to support restorative justice for those arrested pulling down the obelisk, and a guest piece offering still more reasons for resisting the Avangrid-PNM merger. Read on!
In Case You Missed Them:
Last Week’s Posts
I may have to take a week or two off from blogs entirely as despite all my efforts, I am having a hard time getting to the Report Card. Getting through over 20 interviews with legislators, reading Less is More, working on a business plan for Rethink, and helping Roxanne with the spring planting, leaves little time for the Report Card. So, if Retake takes a break, you’ll know why. Meanwhile here is was what we produced last week.
- May 17. Pictures Tell a Telling Tale: Charts & Maps Tell the Story of Our Global Climate Future: A Five Minute Must Read. This only takes a very few minutes to review, but outlines in a series of graphs and charts the truth behind how capitalism and imperialism are leading us toward extinction.
- May 21. We’ll Get to that Soon Won’t Get It Done; Why kicking the can down the road won’t get it done.
5.22.21. Retake Conversation, Less is More Part II
Last week, I did a solo show (click here to view) covering the first 1/3 of Less is More by Jason Hickel. Part I covered Hickel’s views on how capitalism developed and the conditions under which it thrives. In Part II, I examined the impact living within capitalism’s constraints has upon social and economic justice, particularly on the Global South. I also described how unsustainable continued economic growth is for our planet and a number of rebuttals of common arguments made by “green growth” and “slow growth” proponents. In the next segment, to air on May 29, I will begin to lay out how Hickel sees a path out of this conundrum and what a post-capitalist world could look like. But first Part II.
Rethink Huddle & Book Club
We have developed a page on the Retake Our Democracy website to house resources, information, and events related to the development of our 501c3, Rethink Our Democracy. Click here to find out what our plans are, what we are reading and viewing to prepare for the launch, and the roles you can play in supporting the work.
- Tuesday, May 25 (tomorrow) at 6pm Rethink Huddle to discuss the varying ways in which you can be involved, what our research will produce, how that work will be used, and how to be involved in the coming Interim Session. Click here to register.
- Tuesday, June 8, 6pm. Rethink Book Club discussing Jason Hickel’s Less is More. Even if you don’t have time to read the book, by June 8 the video series on the book will have been completed. Each segment of the videos offer a series of quotes from the book and commentary bridging the book to NM. So you have a chance to secure a solid understanding of Hickel’s perspective and even if you can’t do that either, the discussion will be rich and formative. Click here to register.
Restorative Justice for Obelisk Activists Arrested Pulling Down Obelisk:
They Need Your Support
Natali Segovia and Jeff Haas are representing one of the two Indigenous women charged with toppling the SF Plaza obelisk on Indigenous peoples’ Day. Contrary to public opinion, most all of those arrested are local to Santa Fe, not “outsiders.” Jeff sent this along, as while the City is offering a non-punitive, non-incarcerative path using a “restorative justice” process. For defendants, the process is not cheap, so on behalf of his client, he is asking for donations that will not go to him–his work is pro bono—but to the organization designated to facilitate the restorative process. Read on!
Background, Resolution & Request
The1866 obelisk was dedicated to Union Soldiers for fighting the rebels, but also for defeating the “Savage Indians.,’ Although this part of the inscription was chiseled away years ago, the monument and the sentiments expressed have remained, an insult to Indigenous people. Similar monuments celebrating the Indian-slayer Kit Carson, and Spanish Conquistadors can be fund throughout NM.
In order to avoid the time and costs of criminal trials as well as the potential risks of convictions and jail time, the Defendants and the DA have entered into an agreement to participate in a restorative justice process which involves an intake process and dialogue with all those who “felt harmed by the removal.” and others who have supported the removal.
The Defendants are asking community members to help defray the costs of Common Ground, the agreed upon mediator. We need to raise a total of $8500.00. The Defendants are each paying $25 per month to Common Ground for costs and will fully participate in the process and in its objective to increase dialogue and understanding between different community groups and hopefully be a model for resolving other disputes.
Please consider supporting this his non-punitive and non-incarcerative process. All contributions will be used to pay the cost of the restorative justice process and will be sent to Common Ground. Click here to make a tax deductible donation to Common Ground. We just did and it took 3 minutes.
Avangrid-PNM Merger: Another View
Today, we feature a guest post from Ron Flax-Davidson, a board member of Positive Solar and an expert on renewable energy generation and distribution. Retake Our Democracy has already posted twice, commenting on this merger. To make it easier for you to catch up, we created a page with both posts (sans events and other info) and the guest post from Ron, below. Click here to catch up.
Part III: Avangrid-PNM: Guest Post from Ron Flax Davidson
Iberdrola, a Spanish company with over $136 Billion in assets, has proposed that its subsidiary (Avangrid) acquire 100% of the shares of Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM). The proposal requires approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) before taking effect.
On April 30, 2021 I submitted Public Comment to the PRC asking the PRC to require, as a condition of merger, that Iberdrola/Avangrid agree to follow current rules supporting customers with roof-top solar and electric vehicle charging stations.
To date, the distributed energy resource (DER) industry, including roof-top solar and electric vehicle charging stations, has built approximately 200 MW of solar generation facilities on over 25,000 customer premises in New Mexico, providing additional low-cost, clean, solar electric power directly to customers and to the grid, thus avoiding the cost of building a similar amount of large-scale facilities, far from customer load, and also thereby reducing electric transmission requirements.
The DER industry in New Mexico currently provides direct employment for approximately 2,000 New Mexican families and generates nearly $100 million per year in local revenues. A recent study indicates this is 30x the employment obtained from large, utility-scale, renewable facilities and, if implemented throughout the United States, would provide nearly $500 billion in savings to customers. The DER industry is poised to continue its growth, based primarily on New Mexico law and regulation that require utilities to provide customers with “net-metering” (customers with roof-top solar panels may reduce their cost of electricity by the amount of electricity generated at their premises).
However, Avangrid’s subsidiary, Central Maine Power, previously led a roll-back of solar “net metering” requirements that would have decimated the roof-top solar industry in Maine. (In 2019, a newly elected Governor and state legislature in Maine reversed this attack on the roof-top solar industry.)
While Iberdrola/Avangrid is the owner of a considerable capacity of renewable energy assets (primarily wind and solar generating facilities), these are overwhelmingly large, utility-scale facilities, far from customer load, that require long and expensive transmission facilities (also owned by Iberdrola/Avangrid) to transport this electricity.
Iberdrola/Avangrid has indicated that after acquisition of PNM it plans to build additional large-scale renewable energy generating facilities (wind and solar) in New Mexico and increased transmission lines to bring this electricity from its generating facilities to customer loads, including outside New Mexico.
While additional renewable energy facilities are needed in New Mexico, to replace old, expensive, and highly polluting coal and nuclear facilities, New Mexico law and regulations require that utilities, like PNM, purchase electricity from generators based on arms-length criteria, including reliability and cost to customers, and not just because the generator is owned by an affiliated party.
The PRC must not allow Avangrid and PNM to unfairly restrict the local, distributed energy resource (DER) industry in New Mexico, as was done in Maine. The Iberdrola/Avangrid proposal for take-over of PNM must include protections for the local DER industry, including the protection and expansion of customer “net-metering” benefits, and allowing interconnection of solar roof-top facilities and electric vehicle charging stations without prohibitive cost.
Key provisions we recommend be required and maintained by Iberdrola/Avangrid until the earlier of (i) ten years after merger, or (ii) the total capacity of Qualified Distributed Energy Resources (defined as solar generation facilities of up to 1MW size (excluding battery storage) on customer premises) total 25% of utility total peak electric demand, should include:
- Maintenance of current net-metering provisions for customers and third-party owners of solar generation facilities of Qualified Distributed Energy Resources that provide for the reduction of electricity purchases from the utility by the customer equal to the amount of electricity generated by Qualified Distributed Energy Resources on customer premises.
- Maintenance of current utility electric charges specific to customers with Qualified Distributed Energy Resources without increase (except changes to interconnection costs, as proposed below).
- Approval of interconnection without charge other than reasonable review cost for customers and third-party owners of Qualified Distributed Energy Resources. (Interconnection Customer will not be charged for cost of upgrading utility equipment (including, without limitation, transformers and feeder lines) to accommodate installation of Qualified Distributed Energy Resources.)
If you support the continued expansion of the local distributed energy resource (DER) industry, including roof-top solar and electric vehicle charging stations, please contact your PRC Commissioner, State Representatives and the Governor and ask them to require that Avangrid/PNM protect the DER industry, as indicated above.
Please contact your Commissioner at the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) and ask them to save net metering and roof-top solar!
District 1: Cynthia Hall (Cynthia.Hall@state.nm.us)
District 2: Jeff Byrd (Jeff.Byrd@state.nm.us)
District 3: Joseph Maestas (email@example.com)
District 4: Teresa Becenti-Aguilar (T.Becenti@state.nm.us)
District 5: Stephen Fischmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you don’t know your Commissioner you can send to all or locate your Commissioner via the map at: New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (state.nm.us).
Please contact Governor Lujan Grisham and ask her to save Net Metering and Roof-Top Solar! Click on link below: Contact the Governor | Office of the Governor – Michelle Lujan Grisham (state.nm.us)
Ron Flax-Davidson is on the Board of Directors of Positive Energy Solar, Inc., a provider of distributed energy resources (DER), including roof-top solar, an owner of an electric vehicle, and a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In solidarity, hope and gratitude,
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Climate Justice