Valencia County needs to have energy savings
A small group in Valencia County, calling ourselves Valencia Renewables, has over the past three years advocated for the county to install solar panels on county buildings. This would save on electric bills and therefore taxpayers’ money. Money that the county could use in other ways.
Valencia Renewables has also encouraged the county to pursue energy savings contracting, which would upgrade county buildings’ energy efficiency. The N.M. Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) has an energy savings contracting program in place to help counties, cities, school districts, etc., walk through the process.
County Manager Danny Monette has had ENGIE, an energy savings contracting company, perform a preliminary audit of potential savings, which was presented to the Valencia County Commission in July 2020. However, after an election a year ago, nothing that I’m aware of, has taken place.
Sandoval County contracted with ENGIE four years ago to upgrade their county buildings and their energy bills dropped, saving the county $30,000-35,000/year after paying for the energy upgrade loan. Sandoval County residents are also enjoying solar array covered parking, a real summertime asset.
Recently, Socorro County Manager Michael Hawkes and the Socorro County Commission signed a contract after an investment grade audit, for energy savings contracting with Yearout. The investment grade audit involved planning, measuring, collecting and analyzing data that would result in energy savings across 24 buildings throughout Socorro County.
In all, the savings estimates for Socorro County are:
- Year one guaranteed utility savings: $75, 980
- Year one operations and maintenance savings: $21. 043
- Reduction in annual utility costs: 31.3 percent
- Reduction in annual emissions (lbs. of CO2): 252 metric tons
Hopefully, our Valencia County commissioners will once again pick up the ball and follow through with energy savings contracting. The county to our north and the county to our south have been able to move forward with saving energy and taxpayer money and reducing carbon emissions.
Even if the energy savings simply equaled the costs of the loan for the upgrades, not dumping 250 tons of CO2 and the resulting air pollution into our kid’s future, should be a huge incentive for Valencia County to move forward.
Appreciate the help
Valencia County’s Mid Rio Grande chapter of RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) annually serves as a clearinghouse to provide food baskets for Thanksgiving Day for needy families in the area of the Belen school district.
Due to the generosity of a variety of individuals and organizations, we were able to provide food baskets to more than 170 local families.
Our thanks to St. Vincent de Paul of Belen, Rio Communities Optimist Club, First Presbyterian Church of Belen, the Belen Area Food Pantry, Belen Moose Lodge, American Legion Post 81, Clara Garcia and the Valencia County News-Bulletin, the staff of the city of Belen, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Multi-Cultural Commission.
We gratefully acknowledge donations from these individuals: Sen. Gregory and Cynthia Baca, Joe Saiz, Abram and Patricia Torres and other private donors.
Many thanks also to all the citizens of Valencia County who donated non-perishable food items to supply the baskets.
For more information about the RSVP program, contact director Bertha Flores at 505-966-2567 or at Bertha.Flores@belen-nm.gov.
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