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Try tolerating reality

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Energy planning offers no neat solutions

By Merilee Dannemann

Talking about infrastructure planning for the future of New Mexico energy is a serious exercise in testing your ability to tolerate reality.
There is no pie in the sky. This is about how you and I will be able to turn the lights on, 20 years from now.
PNM is currently undergoing such an exercise, with a full complement of public participation. The participants are not a hand-picked group. Everybody who showed up got a place at the table.
Wherever  you are in New Mexico, this affects you. You are part of the region and face similar cost issues and environmental trade-offs. You also breathe the same air.
The trade-offs look like this:
First you have to estimate future demand based on available data for projected population growth and likely energy demands per capita.
You have to assume existing technology. You can’t engage in wishful thinking about a perpetual-motion machine that runs on garbage and eats carbon dioxide.
If reliable power is the top priority, you need an energy source that is available at all times. Right now, the primary sources are coal and natural gas.
Solar and wind power are available only when the sun shines or the wind blows.


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