Over 160 attend day two of RENEW 2009

Thomas Garcia

Organizers and key note speakers are happy with the 160 residents showing interest in renewable energy Wednesday at the RENEW 2009 conference.

“We are excited about RENEW 2009,” said, Patrick Vanderpool, event coordinator. “It has built much on the success of last year’s inaugural event.”

Vanderpool said the true success of the conference — which began Tuesday and ended Wednesday afternoon — was providing a venue for people to exchange ideas.

“We had interest in the conference from as far away as Japan,” Vanderpool said. “People are noticing what is happening in Tucumcari.”

The importance and benefits of the conference was talked about by both local residents and state officials.

“The conference is important and has focused on the land owners and associations here in New Mexico,” said Raymond Mondragon, chairman of the New Mexico Economic Development Partnership.

Mondragon said speakers at the conference provided land owners with documents about rights on having a wind turbine on their property.

“This conference has brought together experts from the states land and energy offices,” Mondragon said. “They were able to speak to the public and answer questions.”

While the focus of the conference was developing New Mexico’s renewable energy field, some spoke about the economic development possibilities from these projects.

“The conference can help the economic development of many communities,” Mondragon said.

Mondragon said renewable energy can produce many jobs both construction and permanent. He said landowners can lease their property for wind turbines and eventually own the device.

State Rep. Jose A. Campos (D) spoke to the crowd about the importance of moving forward with transmission lines in New Mexico.

“It was a grassroots effort that started in this room that got the legislation on the transmission lines to the state senate,” Campos said.

Campos said if transmission lines could be developed to export wind energy out of New Mexico, there is a potential to bring billions of dollars to the economies of New Mexico.

“A lot of the money will come here to eastern New Mexico,” Campos said. “I do not think that eastern New Mexico will ever look back if we get viable transmission lines out of here.”

Campos said the process and work to get transmission lines is a tough and complex issue.

“I did not know at first that this challenge was so big,” Campos said. “It is not as simple as putting up poles and placing lines on them.”

Campos said this energy issue is not just a local issue but affects areas across the nation.

“Energy, is a national issue,” Campos said. “Providing jobs, producing products and transportation of goods. The wind is at our back.”

Campos closed by asking for the support of the conference audience to help get the transmission bill through the senate.