As evidence of Iberdrola’s corporate irresponsibility piles up, one must ask: Could PNM have found a less ethical corporation? UNLIKELY!
Tuesday we were stunned to read that yet another investigation had been launched by the Spanish government, triggered by Iberdrola’s draining two major reservoirs to increase profits. The initial article lacked much detail and it was unclear exactly how Iberdrola profited from their action. So we reviewed two articles from The Guardian and one each from Bloomberg and Digis Mak, from which the picture became far clearer. First, from Digis Mak, we find the reaction of Teresa Ribera, Minister of Ecological Transition, who described Iberdrola’s actions as “scandalous”:
“This cannot be allowed to happen,” the minister said in a televised interview. “Water is a scarce resource that is as important for the well-being of families and the economy as it is for generating electricity.”From Digis Mak, ” Spain Launches Investigation After Dams Were Drained for Profit During Drought“
To get at Iberdrola’s motivation for their action, we need to understand how electricity rates are set in Spain. From The Guardian:
“Electricity prices in Spain are fixed on a daily basis through what is effectively an auction as power generators bid for their slice of the market based on expected demand. A base price is set by the cost of nuclear power and renewables such as wind and solar, because they are the cheapest, and then the rest – hydro and fossil fuel generators – make their bid.
Draining the reservoirs to accelerate hydroelectricity production put Iberdrola in a position to bid for a bigger slice of the cake.”The Guardian: “Spain launches inquiry after dams drained for profit during drought”
So to increase their profit, Iberdrola was willing to drain two large reservoirs to devote that water to hydro-electricity and increase their share of the electricity “pie.” The action is impacting the supply of drinking water in the region. As reported by Digis Mak, “At the San Pedro de la Nave-Almendra dam, the water level is now so low that the pumps that extract the drinking water get clogged with mud and the filters have to be cleaned twice a day.” In the same report, Javier Aguado, mayor of San Cebrián de Castro, one of the affected towns, described both dams as “deserts.”
Interestingly, in researching this issue, we may have identified a far larger environmental offense involving Iberdrola, one of the largest producers of hydro-electric power in Europe. From a second piece in The Guardian:
“We are facing nothing less than the end of free flowing rivers in Europe, if we don’t stop this dam craze,” said Ulrich Eichelmann, the chief executive of RiverWatch, one of four environmental NGOs that commissioned the study. “Under the label of “green energy”, the hydro lobby and political decision makers are about to destroy Europe’s last remaining rivers and streams, and with it an enormous amount of plant and animal species,” he said. “We don’t need any additional new hydro dams in Europe.”The Guardian: “New generation of hydroelectric dams ‘threaten Europe’s rivers“
While NM is not a good candidate for developing hydro-electric power, this piece makes clear the extent to which Iberdrola will ignore the concerns of local mayors and local communities, and trample on the environment in “scandalous” ways. By any measure, the more you look the more you find that Iberdrola is a bad actor and not a good ethical partner. Just as mayor Javier Aguado expressed above.
Call Your PRC Commissioner Today!
We provide phone numbers below. Quite possibly you will get voicemail. So please leave a message giving your name and saying you are their constituent, where you live, and tell her/him that you have been tracking the hearing and are very concerned about Avangrid/Iberdrola’s behavior in Maine and Spain and that the recent reports from Bloomberg, The Guardian, and Retake Our Democracy about Iberdrola’s draining two dams for profit should be included in PRC deliberations. Be sure to very clearly state your opposition to the merger and thank them for their service.
District 1 (purple area on map below)
Cynthia B. Hall
District 2 (green area on map below)
Jeff L. Byrd
District 3 (orange area on map below)
District 4 (blue area on map below)
District 5 (red area on map below)
Paul and Roxanne