Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Word Document:
Webpage with our documents

none of the images pasted correctly, so to view the document it is probably best if you download it from the link above

2.0      Background


1.0      Introduction

Over the past decade global carbon emissions, which have been linked with climate change, have become an issue worldwide. The Kyoto Protocol was created in 1997 to regulate these emissions, however, its goal is to reduce emissions by the end of 2012, after which the protocol has no further provisions. Recent climate conferences, such as the one in Copenhagen, Denmark, have failed to produce any legislation to supplement or replace the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. is one of the world’s largest producers of carbon emissions, emitting almost 6 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2008[1], ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­which approximately 20% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Correlating with the carbon emissions increase is the fossil fuel usage increase in the latter half of the 20th Century, from 3 billion metric tons of fossil fuel in 1965 to over 7 billion metric tons in 2008. According to the Statistical Review of World Energy 2009 there are 1.3 trillion barrels of oil left which, given current consumption rates, will last another 42 years. Inevitably, non-renewable energy sources will become prohibitively expensive, so alternative sources of energy must be found and utilized.
                The state of New Mexico was responsible for emitting 33 million metric tons of CO2 in 2006 and, in Santa Fe, CO2 emission has increased of 8.5% since the year 2000. In order to address this increase, the City has come up with the Sustainable Santa Fe Plan, part of which includes reducing carbon emissions by 18.9% by 2012. PNM, the provider of Santa Fe’s electricity, currently produces 71% of its output from coal and natural gas. While inexpensive burning these fuels contributes to carbon production. Part of PNM’s contract with New Mexico entails that renewable sources must constitute 7% of the current energy portfolio.  Also notable is 20% increase in energy costs for residents in New Mexico since 1990. To counter both of the fore-mentioned problems pertaining to residential energy, Santa Fe has shown an interest in purchasing its electrical infrastructure.
The Sustainable Santa Fe Plan provides solutions for the municipality to provide services in an environmentally-conscious way. Part of the plan provides loans for residents to install solar panels on their homes, and any surplus electricity generated can be sold back to the grid at retail price. While the private solar panel installations aid in carbon reduction to a small extent, the carbon production of Santa Fe is influenced mostly by the practices of PNM which favors profit over the goals of the sustainability plan. Thus, the lack of control over the electrical infrastructure is a limitation on the City’s green efforts. Santa Fe has purchased its water infrastructure in 2008 for the sum of $61 million as part of the Sustainable Santa Fe Plan. Santa Fe is looking to buy its electrical infrastructure so that it can have the flexibility needed for greener power transmission practices. With control over the grid, the City can upgrade it with smart grid specifications and integrate solar power without dissent from PNM. As an example of this type of proposal, the town of Farmington, NM has owned its power infrastructure since 1965 and Farmington residents can tout that electricity rates saw no increase between 1982 and 2007.
The City has purchased the water infrastructure, but that resulted in the opposite of the intended effect: a rate increase instead of a decrease. This drastic increase in water bills for residents was to pay for the loans that made the purchase possible. There are no full maps of the City’s electrical infrastructure available to this project group to allow for a full assessment of the value of the power infrastructure. The main unresolved issue with the purchase of the electric grid is whether or not it would be cost effective to do so. The corollary to that is the method of how the City would pay for the purchase.
Our project’s goals are straight forward; first, to determine if it is cost effective for the city of Santa Fe to purchase their electrical infrastructure; second, if it is how they might pay for it. Our research will gather numbers such as operating costs, maintenance costs, age, and several other factors. After we know the purchase price and value, we can figure out what methods of financing the city could use after undertaking such a large financial burden. The financing will require the team to conduct in-depth research of how the city could potentially raise the amount of money required to purchase the infrastructure. As an added bonus to the people of Santa Fe, our team will work to develop a way to get the local students more interested in science. By performing each of these objectives, we will be able to help the City of Santa Fe determine if the possibility of purchasing the electrical infrastructure is a worthwhile endeavor for them to undertake.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Background Reseach

Electricity Generated by Month by Fuel

Background Research

Everything you need to know about the Santa Fe water bonds.

Continued Research for Background by Andrew

This contains the background information for Alternative Power Sources
1.) Solar
2.) Geothermal
3.) Wind

Monday, February 15, 2010

Project Proposal Rough Draft

Here is the link to a google document of our Project Proposal:


This will change a lot in the next week, so it may not be an accurate representation of our current report.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ho Fong's Literature Review
Lew, N. (2009, November 05). Santa Fe Greenlighted for Solar Power Purchase Agreements. Retrieved February 11, 2010, from coolerplanet:

This article deals with Santa Fe's attempt to power municipal buildings with solar power, and PNM's qualm with such a proposal. There is information about the renewable energy portfolio that PNM must meet.

The Bond Market Association. The Fundamentals of Municipal Bonds. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 2001.

The first chapter of this book covers the basics of how government bonds work. This should provide sufficient background for this project.
Singh, Parm Pal and Sukhmeet Singh. "Realistic Generation Cost of Solar Photovoltaic Electricity." Renewable Energy (2010): 563-569.

This article is relevant to our project because it proposes a non-linear repayment method for the loans required to start a solar electricity farm. The initial investment is huge, so a repayment that is in line with the Linkrevenue generation make more sense, and it should relieve some of the problem with starting a solar farm.

Wei, Max, Shana Patadia and Daniel M. Kammen. "Putting renewables and energy efficiency to work: How many jobs can the clean energy industry generate in the US?" Energy Policy (2010): 919-931.

One of the main concerns with starting a Solar Farm with tax dollars is the need for incentives for the tax payers. This article details how renewable energy can create jobs. We hope to apply the findings in this article to our project on Sante Fe.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Stephens Literature Review

Electrical infrastructure faces crisis, experts say

Info on current issues with many electrical infrastructures throughout the country, if these issues are present in Santa Fe then updating the issues could be some thing the city may view as a reason not to buy the infrastructure.

Electric Infrastructure Systems Technology Analysis Models and Tools

A large amountof info on electricity of all sorts and from many different sources (normal, solar, ect)

Solar energy, green jobs are big winners in 2009 legislative session

Info on some leglisation passed in NM within the lastyear that has to do with renewable energy and other things that could relate to our project.

Literature Review

Andrew's Literature Review
Government Resources 
City of Farmington NM
click below to view more information and links

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Literature Review

Joel's Literature Review

We have no followers after about 10 minutes of creating this blog :'(

First Blog Post

Today we have finished filling out all the paper work for our IQP that is required by the ISGD. We have created this blog to keep track of our research and explain our discoveries as we progress throughout the IQP.