Conference focuses on energy renewables

Thomas Garcia

Guest speakers and exhibits focusing on renewable energy filled the Tucumcari Convention Center Tuesday, all part of the RENEW 2009 conference.

“This is a great event. New Mexico and Quay County have a lot of renewable energy potential,” said Jimmy Sandoval, Tucumcari City Commissioner.

Explaining how to tap wind energy was Logan resident, Johanna Bruhn of the Coalition of Renewable Energy Landowners Association.

“The main point is to provide information to landowners,” Bruhn said. “Information they might not know is available about commercial wind opportunities on their land.”

Bruhn said the informed farmer or rancher has more of an advantage because they can determine what the wind blowing across their property might be worth.

Still, Bruhn said, one of the main problems facing the wind industry in New Mexico is the transmission issue. She said it will have to be solved by a multi-stakeholder solution.

“Work needs to continue into developing the transmission lines to get the wind power out of New Mexico,” Bruhn said. “The main priority is to get the power to California or the East Coast where the power is needed.”

Bruhn said the transmission line issue is a multi-billion dollar one. Fortunately, she said this issue has legislative support from U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (NM).

Local government officials and area residents attending today’s conference have the opportunity to hear presenters such as Mike McDow of the USDA Rural Development and Fred Mondragon, secretary of New Mexico Economic Development.

A panel meets at 1 p.m today to discuss the transmission line issue in detail. One of the presenters is Jeremy Turner, of the state’s Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, or RETA.