Blog: Jemez Pueblo finds it hard to market renewable energy
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
"We visited a number of communities that are anxious to help lead the renewable energy revolution. But boy is it tough to do. Consider Jemez Pueblo, home to a tiny northern New Mexico tribe whose only revenue sources are a gift shop and a gas station. We visited the pueblo to learn about its geothermal potential -- they will soon drill a test well for a utility scale project -- and a four megawatt solar farm it has on the drawing board. In the grand scheme of things, that's a tiny solar project. But it would be the first commercial scale, grid-tied solar farm in the country on Indian land -- widely touted for its renewable potential -- and it's more or less shovel ready. But the tribe has to find a buyer for the power it would produce before they can begin construction, and that's proved elusive. Carolyn Stewart of Red Mountain Energy Partners, a tribal energy consultant, told us that it comes down to this: Coal-fired power is still really cheap. And though utilities do have renewable portfolio standards to meet, progress toward those goals has been slow and enforcement mechanisms are lackluster. "
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