Economic Development Using Green Energy as a Vehicle

Economic Development Using Green Energy as a Vehicle

By Jennifer Gose, Candidate NMHD 54

 

By now we are all aware of the major environmental, health, and economic impacts of the oil & gas industry. Many are questioning whether continuing to support this industry is a good idea.

In the Unites States, we subsidize… literally give tax dollars to the oil & gas industry to the tune of $26 BILLION dollars per year (Source: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/danielle-droitsch/time-us-end-fossil-fuel-subsidies) . Total revenue for oil & gas in the U.S. in 2019? 882.29 BILLION DOLLARS (Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/257417/top-10-oil-and-gas-companies-worldwide-based-on-revenue/).

There is exactly zero reason for us to give away OUR TAXES to private businesses who make 33 times in revenue the subsidy amount. These figures don’t even account for healthcare costs due to pollution, environmental remediation cost, etc. You get the idea.

Given this, one of my primary platform pieces is using renewable energy production to spur economic development especially in rural New Mexico.

According to The World Resources Institute (https://www.wri.org/blog/2017/02/states-use-renewable-energy-win-corporate-business):

“Advanced Energy Economy cites that nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have a sustainability or renewable energy target; 22 have committed to 100 percent renewable energy. These companies include Walmart, General Motors, Amazon and others who have also signed on to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles.”

And

“Edison Energy reports that 72 percent of large companies headquartered in the United States are actively pursuing additional renewable energy purchases. For the foreseeable future, these large companies will continue to buy a substantial portion of their power from their local utility.”

Clearly, more and more large multi-location corporations are actively seeking and incentivizing not only themselves, but also municipalities and states to seek and support low or zero carbon renewable energy solutions.

The Guardian spoke with BP, a UK-based oil company about a renewable energy future. It is and continues to be the fastest growing energy sector of all time (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/14/renewable-energy-world-power-source-bp):

“The UK-based oil company said wind, solar and other renewables will account for about 30% of the world’s electricity supplies by 2040, up from 25% in BP’s 2040 estimates last year, and about 10% today.”

And

“While oil took almost 45 years to go from 1% of global energy to 10%, and gas took more than 50 years, renewables are expected to do so within 25 years in the report’s central scenario.”

“Renewables are expected to grow by 7.1% each year over the next two decades, eventually displacing coal as the world’s top source of power by 2040.”

These are astonishing, gob-smacking growth rates.

Case Study: Renewable energy economic boom in the rural Midwest (https://www.nrdc.org/experts/arjun-krishnaswami/renewable-energy-brings-economic-boost-rural-communities):

“Rural areas of the Midwest gained 2.2 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity in 2017…Wind developers often pay landowners to host wind turbines, providing farmers and ranchers with a consistent source of additional income while still allowing them to use these lands for farming as well. Wind farms provide $245 million every year in lease payments to farmers and ranchers for hosting wind turbines. Within the Midwest, rural landowners in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas receive more than $10 million annually from wind leases. Farmers and ranchers in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Indiana receive between $5 million and $10 million.

Wind energy projects also provide a new source of tax revenues for local governments, which can be invested into school districts and economic development projects. For example, in Colfax, Illinois, a town of 1,000 people, new wind projects increased the property tax base from $61 million in 2006 to $102 million in 2008. This new revenue allowed the local schools to fund new projects, pay off debt, and weather the 2008 recession.

Wind projects are also magnets for further investment. Businesses from around the country are flocking to the rural Midwest to build data centers and other facilities that will run on clean energy. Corporations drawn to an area because of cheap, clean electricity create local jobs and greater local economic activity. These new industries can also drive further tax revenue and infrastructure improvements.”

Renewables also drive down utility costs ESPECIALLY in rural areas:

“Rural areas are also experiencing new growth in solar energy. Jobs in the solar industry make up more than 45 percent of the renewable energy jobs throughout the Midwest. Rural electric cooperatives (co-ops), which are utilities owned by their customers, have taken great strides to bring solar energy to more rural communities. Co-ops have especially taken advantage of one great avenue for expanding solar access: community solar programs.

Community solar programs allow participants to buy a share of a solar project and then benefit from the electricity generated. These projects bring solar energy to people who cannot or do not want to install their own rooftop solar panels. This can apply to homeowners who can’t afford the large up-front costs or have rooftops that are shaded or inconveniently oriented. It can also benefit those who don’t own their home and can’t alter their roofs. More and more rural areas are subscribing to community solar programs, with more than 190 co-ops offering community solar in 31 states. When designed properly, community solar programs can address many of the barriers that prevent households from adopting solar and, in doing so, can reduce electricity bills and lower household energy burden—which is especially high for rural families.”

And as for spurring innovation and business / job creation:

“Solar energy projects are also enabling other economic benefits. For example, the Farmers Electric Cooperative in Kalona, Iowa, generates 15 percent of its power from solar energy and distributes 2.5 kilowatts (kW) per member. That’s more locally produced energy per customer than any other utility in the country has been able to achieve. The cooperative has also encouraged smart financial investments in the area. Farmers Electric bought nine acres of vacant land for a 1.7-MW solar farm. The original landowners then invested the income from the sale in a nearby facility for four new businesses. All four businesses now purchase electricity from the solar farm.

We have a golden opportunity here. We can wrest our future away from an industry that pollutes, kills, maims and destroys for one that is clean, prosperous, and healthy for both people and planet.

We have an opportunity to reject an industry that uses places and people up and then discards them. We have an opportunity to craft how we want to live in this state. We are not beholden to the extractive industries. They are beholden to us.

All we need is the will to embrace change. All we need is the will to say no.

Join me and let’s build hope. Let’s build health. Let’s build a thriving economy with renewable energy at its core.

We can do this. Together.

Like what you see? Click the button to support Jen’s race. Thank you!

Op-Ed April 15, 2019

Why Local Races Matter

Here we are again. Election season. Or maybe it’s just a carry-over from the last election season. Actually, there really isn’t a “season” for it at all anymore. It’s a constant drone like road noise on a long car trip. It gets where you don’t even hear it anymore because it’s just “there”. It’s a constant barrage of calls, emails, social media posts, TV commercials, etc. You can’t escape it. So, in our own defense, we tune it all out.

But let’s take a pit stop for a minute, stretch our legs and consider how this all works, and what it really means to us in our lives. My perspective, of course, is as a candidate for office.

Running for office is hard. It’s grueling. It’s emotional. It requires massive amounts of mental, emotional, and physical input. This is not for the faint of heart.

This is the hardest job I have ever had.

Yet, I sit here in front of my computer at my desk in my bedroom in my old robe with tears in my eyes as I contemplate how I am going to manage the expenses of this campaign for the next 30 days.

This is a huge issue. Especially with local & state campaigns. I read the news and see presidential candidates and federal office candidates raising X millions of dollars in one or two days and I struggle to raise $100 to pay for gas so I can get to parts of the district to talk with voters.

The most frustrating part of all of this? State and local level lawmakers are the ones who impact our daily lives. They are responsible for making sure there is enough money for the roads we drive on to get to work, the schools our children attend, the housing opportunities available to the citizens, the medical facilities available to serve the sick and injured.

This is literally where we live.

I get it. I do. National politics is exciting. It’s basically entertainment. Local races are boring. There is no glitz or glamour to it whatsoever. We talk about very dry and unappetizing topics like wastewater management, or bond issues, or transportation plans. You get the idea.

It’s a snoozefest.

But here is where we are: We have many, many state congressional seats, judgeships, county and city seats that go unchallenged for YEARS. Decades sometimes. Do you know who your local leadership are? Are you aware of how they vote and what they do? Do you know if they are actually working for you?

Former Speaker of The US House Tip O’Neill famously said: “All politics is local”. That statement is truer than ever. How our tax dollars are spent, how schools are funded, how we fix our roads and other issues are affected by local politics. It is easy to get wrapped up in what is said at the national level and what is coming from the White House, but at the end of the day, what happens to you, in whatever city or town you live in, is directly affected by our local politics and who we have in office.

     Former Speaker of The US House Tip O’Neill ~All politics is local.

It is true that who we elect matters. When someone is elected that doesn’t represent ALL of the people, the constituents are the ones that suffer. Maybe you have been affected by a decision that was made, maybe someone you love has, but at the end of the day we all get affected by bad policy and bad law decisions. The good news is that you as a voter have the power to change this.

I look at the political landscape in just this one district here in southeastern New Mexico and I see representatives who have held a particular seat for so long it seems as if they are lifetime appointees.

This is not what Democracy looks like in my mind.

We should be challenging our leaders. We should be holding our leaders accountable. We should be involved and engaged and questioning those we elect to represent us at this level. It is critical that we do so. It is the only way we inoculate ourselves against corruption and abuse. This is not someone else’s issue. It’s ours. It’s all of ours.

We must expect and demand choices in our local elections. We must demand that our representatives do right by us. We must support and help candidates who put their entire lives on hold to put themselves out there to challenge the status quo.

From a candidate’s perspective, I will tell you this: It’s hard. This is hard work for a job that I will essentially do for free in Santa Fe as New Mexico does not pay its legislators any kind of salary to do the work of the people.

I am not in this for the money.

I will be in the red for as long as I do this.

The seat I am running for hasn’t been challenged for 18 years.

Eighteen.

That’s a generation.

That doesn’t look like Democracy to me.

On top of all of this: The current occupant of this seat, while not officially announced candidacy, is the current House Minority leader. So, not only am I taking on a narrow scope of challenging the incumbent for the seat, I am also taking on the entrenched party statewide.

But I’m in it.

I am here to provide a choice. An alternative. Perhaps even a new path forward.

I need help to do this. Every local candidate up and down the ballot needs all of us to pay attention to what matters right here where we live.

Washington is shiny. I get it. I get sucked in by it too. Federal offices matter, but they matter less on the day to day.

    How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. ~Annie Dillard

I intend to spend my days from now until the election…and beyond… in service to the people of southeastern New Mexico. Elected, or not.

I hope you will join me in this endeavor.

Jen

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Media contact: Luis Guerrero, Campaign Manager

Phone number: (575)635-3354

E-mail: lguerrerops@gmail.com

Jen’s website: https://www.jenfor54.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenFor54/

Twitter: @54Gose

Where in the World is District 54?

 

The first question I am asked at nearly every meeting with voters is “WHERE is District 54?” or “Wait, what? I didn’t even know that existed.”

That tells me a few things as a candidate, but I’ll save that for another post.

First things first: Here is the big map from The United States Census Bureau

Since this is such an ENORMOUS district in terms of square miles, let’s take it apart and look at it in terms of zones. First, this district represents parts of 3 separate counties: Otero, Chaves, and Eddy Counties. The major population centers are the small mountain communities in the aggregate, Carlsbad, and Artesia, most of which is in Otero and Eddy Counties. Chaves County is sparsely populated in District 54 (but no less important). This means that there are 3 distinct economic zones encompassed by 54. Major industries include (but not limited to): Tourism and forestry in the mountain communities, Farm and ranch in Chaves and Eddy, potash mining as well as one of the largest oil & gas production centers in all of New Mexico in Eddy County.

Northern Otero County mountain community District Bounds Map and City / Village detail

Southern Otero County desert community District Bounds Map and City / Village detail

Chaves County District Bounds Map and City / Village detail

Eddy County District Bounds Map and City / Village detail

City of Artesia, Eddy County Detail

City of Carlsbad, Eddy County Detail

As always, if you have any questions or need help don’t hesitate to contact us.