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Mayor Tim Keller Announces Roadmap to Move City to 100% Renewable Energy within Four Years

Plan includes partnering on new solar project with PNM

November 21, 2018

Mayor Tim Keller today announced his plans to move the City of Albuquerque to 100% renewable energy within four years.  The plan has several components, with a major piece of that involving a new partnership with PNM where the company will build a new 50 MW solar field as part of the PNM Solar Direct Program. The first of its kind program provides an opportunity for large electric customers like the City to achieve their clean energy and carbon reduction goals.

When taking office, Mayor Keller set an ambitious goal offsetting the City’s annual electricity consumption with 100 renewable energy. With the completion of this large-scale solar, the City will be getting about 58% of its electricity from solar within two years (compared with 4% today). The roadmap also includes continuing to add solar to City facilities, installing more energy efficient street lighting and putting in place other measures to reduce the City’s overall energy consumption.

Once fully implemented by 2022, these efforts will amount to removing the equivalent of 93,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions every year.  This reduction is about the same as taking almost 20,000 cars off the road in a year.

“We have a responsibility to current and future generations to put the City on a path to sustainability,” stated Mayor Keller. “With this plan, we’ll get Albuquerque a large part of the way to using only renewable energy. There’s no reason not to seize upon our natural advantages like year-round sunshine to help build a better world. We are always looking for innovative ways to protect our environment and save taxpayers money, and this is a big step toward achieving those goals.”

Mayor Keller signed the Climate Paris Agreement when he first took office and has pursued several strategies to make the City more sustainable. In June, he announced the first phase of a $25 million investment to make Albuquerque a leading solar city, which involves installing solar panels at 12 different City-owned buildings. He also issued an executive order requiring new city facilities to use higher energy building standards.

Mayor Keller also launched the Green Team Initiative to promote sustainability across all city departments. Green Team members in each department serve as sustainability champions who are working to create a culture of sustainability by promoting environmentally-friendly practices throughout their respective departments.

The PNM Solar Direct Program will allow the City to receive electricity from a new, large-scale solar facility. Once approved by the PRC, the City plans to subscribe to 25 megawatts of electricity annually, which will initially cover 58% of the City’s energy needs. Twenty-five megawatts is enough electricity to power about 8,000 average homes. By participating in the PNM Solar Direct Program, the City is also expected to save millions of dollars in utility payments over the long-term.

“PNM is excited to work with the city and Mayor Keller in support of the ongoing transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy resources,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president, and CEO of PNM. “Taking advantage of new technology to bring renewable energy to the City of Albuquerque and all PNM customers is another important step toward creating the innovative, sustainable, and interconnected community that we all envision.”