Enviro Group Launches Anti-Coal Campaign
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As New Mexico’s largest solar manufacturing plant closes, a Santa Fe environmental group has launched an advertising campaign to pressure PNM to move from coal exclusively to solar generated electricity. Motorists passing through Albuquerque’s Big I now see a colorful billboard announcing “Coal Hurts.” New Energy Economy, the group which has pushed for carbon caps and other restrictions on fossil fuels, is sponsoring the campaign.
“A lot of people may not realize that the PNM electricity they’re paying for in Albuquerque comes from a coal plant in the Four Corners area that makes our whole region pay a big price with our health,” said New Energy Economy Executive Director Mariel Nanasi.
The billboards are located at two other locations in Albuquerque in addition to the Big I interchange.
New Energy Economy’s motto is “Opportunity for New Mexico, Energy Independence for America.” The coal currently used in PNM’s San Juan Generating Plant comes from American mines. The solar panel industry is dominated by Chinese companies. They are increasing their grip on the industry by purchasing American solar power companies in order to gain access to technology and customers. Chinese solar giants are also gobbling up faltering European solar power generation manufacturers. The Obama Administration’s efforts to blunt the Chinese dominance have been less aggressive than some observers think is necessary.
New Mexico’s two largest solar manufacturers, Schott Solar and Advent Solar, have shut down their operations in this state. Both companies failed despite receiving generous direct investments and other subsidies from state and local governments. Across the board, New Mexico’s solar power manufacturing generation sector has been crumbling, as reported by Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Reports. A review of the membership of the New Mexico Solar Energy Association shows no company remaining that manufactures solar panels or solar thermal collectors on any significant scale. The industry has essentially been reduced to installing panels manufactured in East Asia. A 12 megawatt solar energy generating station just opened outside Las Cruces employs imported solar panels.
We have a call in to New Energy Economy with these questions: The smokestacks shown emitting thick smoke in the billboard photograph, is that a photo taken of the San Juan Generating Station or somewhere else? And the child shown holding a breathing device to his nose, is that a child actually suffering respiratory ailment caused by inhaling emissions from a coal fired generating plant, or is it a staged photo?