Mariel Nanasi

Mariel Nanasi is the Executive Director and President of New Energy Economy. A civil rights and criminal defense attorney, she is licensed to practice in both the state and federal courts. Legal cases she has won and settled have been featured in major media, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican, and on many television stations, including a documentary, “End of the Nightstick” on PBS. When Mariel realized the urgency of climate change, she came to work for New Energy Economy as the senior policy advisor. Two years later, she was asked to serve as Executive Director. A zealous organizer, Mariel’s can-do spirit is infectious. As comfortable with complex policy and legal challenges as on-the-ground organizing, she easily connects with the public, including young Hispanic artists, firefighters on the front lines, acequia caretakers, grassroots Native leaders, funders, and legislators. Mariel lectures on climate change and environmental justice at conferences and college classrooms and her essay, A Future Without Coal: In New Mexico Supreme Court, Again, can be read at http://climatestorytellers.org/. Mariel is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Fe Art Institute.

New Energy Economy was established in 2004 to create economic opportunity in New Mexico by promoting clean energy use and reducing carbon pollution. Led by experts and activists in public policy, environmental law, social justice, public health and community organizing, we face the challenge of climate change through public policy leadership, smart litigation, targeted lobbying, media outreach, grass roots efforts and community-scale clean energy implementation projects.

Cohort Information

Mariel Nanasi
Representing New Energy Economy
Executive Director and President
Website(s): http://www.newenergyeconomy.org
Year(s) Awarded: 2013

Energy Democracy: Leading by Example

New Energy Economy is leading an effort to establish a public electrical power utility in Santa Fe and Santa Fe County (collectively ‘Santa Fe’).

By creating a model municipal utility with leading edge innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy and related economic development, we will improve the quality of life and economy in Santa Fe as well as advance national efforts to address climate change, reduce pollution from coal burning and promote sustainable economic growth. Santa Fe will serve as an example for other communities throughout New Mexico as well as the nation as we reclaim control over our energy future thereby enabling us to aggressively pursue the benefits of a new energy economy.

While SF’s public officials have a critical role to play in creating a public power utility, broad public awareness of the issues & benefits related to creating the utility will be crucial to the success of the overall effort. SF’s families and businesses must be informed of the benefits in ways that they can enthusiastically embrace and that relate to their specific circumstances.

Funding and support from the Solutions Laboratory will help support the development of a comprehensive research and marketing campaign that will engage the public in an important discourse around energy preferences, values and visions for Santa Fe’s future, and ultimately, will be used to challenge the rhetoric of privatization and free-market capitalism and highlight the benefits of local, public control and management of essential natural resources and public services.

New Energy Economy’s vision as to how their community would be different if their idea were to succeed:
By creating a model municipal utility with leading edge innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy and related economic development, we will improve the quality of life and economy in SF as well as advance national efforts to address climate change, reduce pollution from coal burning and promote sustainable economic growth. SF will serve as an example for other communities throughout NM as well as the nation as we reclaim control over our energy future.