The Energy Transition Act, SB 489, has been signed, sealed and delivered to the unsuspecting folks of New Mexico. This bill provides a financial bond transition path for Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), a public utility, to replace the high density San Juan Coal Power Station with low density wind and solar and electric rate increases from now until 2050. Someone always has to pay for that free sun and wind.
Industrial wind and solar farms are both at the bottom of the energy density meter chart with stored fossil fuels having ten thousand times more energy density and nuclear fuels another million times more energy density than fossil fuels.
When we talk about energy density we are referring to the stored energy in a fuel source. While the sun has stored energy, it is 92.15 million miles away. Also, wind has stored energy but it is constantly moving around and not concentrated. In order to leverage wind or solar, you need collectors.
The energy from the sun and wind passes through the collectors as converted electricity to be immediately used, stored in batteries or discarded. There is no stored energy in collectors themselves for use when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.
When you look out over the horizon and see all those massive wind towers with blades spinning in the breeze (or not) and you see endless rolling hills blanketed with blacken sheets of solar panels, you have to be impressed on the surface.
But when you look behind the physics of wind or solar collectors you will understand why these two sources are just not going to power a decarbonized New Mexico alone. We absolutely must have high density fossil and fission energy as our energy sources for generating base load electricity for the regional electric grid.
There’s also an incredible correlation between the rise of fossil fuel usage and an increase in life expectancy, gross domestic product, and population. Nuclear energy is how we will continue our human flourishing.
Innovation is a critical driver of clean energy transitions. So, why is the New Mexico Government being so foolish to ignore the warning signs (Germany and California) and continue with their clean energy transition without high density energies?