July 17, 2008 by Jane Moorman NMSU News Center
SANTA FE – New Mexico leaders want to hear what state residents think about the development of renewable energies in their communities. A series of town hall meetings will be held across the state to allow the sponsoring agencies and organizations to develop a collaborative approach to dealing with the complexities of the rapidly evolving issue of renewable energy.
The first three meetings in the series will be:
•Monday, July 21, in Portales at the Memorial Building, 200 E. Seventh Street.
•Tuesday, July 22, in Clayton at the Clayton Civic Center, 114 North Front Street.
•Wednesday, July 23, in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe County Fair Building, 3229 Rodeo Road.
The meetings will be from 9 a.m. to noon. Additional meetings are planned in Albuquerque, Grants, Las Cruces and Silver City with dates and locations to be announced.
“There are economic opportunities, approaches to conservation and appropriate technologies that can be shared through collaborative efforts with our many partners,” said Gerald Chacon, New Mexico State University’s associate vice provost for outreach services. “There may also be concerns surrounding renewable energy affecting rural New Mexico, that we are interested in hearing about.”
The sponsors of the town meetings “want to be sure that rural communities are at the table when decisions are being made regarding policy issues, economic development and appropriate technologies for the home, farm, ranch and small communities,” Chacon said.
At the meeting the Rural Stewardship Institutes will be introduced as an eventual mechanism for work in small towns and rural areas. Topics to be discussed are currently identified resources, renewable technology, and the local situation and needs including economic development, rural development, cost offsets for utility scale power and regulatory issues. A needs-analysis questionnaire will be distributed and local resources will be identified.
The information gathered at the town meetings will be used while developing a plan of action that will include future educational activities, research demonstrations and Web sites, which will involve the various communities.
Sponsors of the town hall meetings include New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resource Department, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Association of Counties, New Mexico Economic Development, USDA Rural Development, NMSU’s Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Current-c Energy Systems Inc.
“We invite everyone and anyone to the meeting. We don’t have all the answers and we want to see what’s out there and who’s involved before we develop a plan of work,” Chacon said.