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SB #489: Energy Transition Act

50% carbon-free electricity by 2030
100%carbon-free electricity by 2045
Jacob Candelaria, Nathan P. Small, Mimi Stewart, Patricia Roybal Caballero, Brian Egolf
Bill Fact Sheet 

Key Points:

1. New Mexico’s electricity will be 50% renewable by 2030, with a goal of 100% by 2045.  Current law requires renewable energy to supply 20% of New Mexico’s electricity by 2020. Because of loopholes, price caps and exemptions, the actual renewable energy serving New Mexicans is much less – as low as 3% in some cases

 2. New Mexico’s economy will be bolstered by a large renewable energy build-out, with a local workforce trained to supply the needed labor. In addition to the air, land, water, and public health benefits for New Mexicans from new renewable energy standards, there are substantial economic benefits. Renewable energy is among the least expensive sources of energy, and New Mexico contains premier sites for its development. The bill provides training for New Mexico workers so that the construction and development jobs of this renewable energy build-out are sustainable.

3. The ETA protects consumers and reduces electricity costs as New Mexico moves away from coal. New Mexico utilities have long relied on coal-fired generation to produce electricity.But with the declining price for renewables and the aging coal infrastructure, New Mexico can now transition away from coal. Some utilities, such as PNM, have substantial coal plant costs approved for recovery but still on their books. The bill uses a tool not currently available to the PRC to better protect customers, while requiring the utility to have shared responsibility: allow-cost financing to pay off coal plant costs and close the facilities, often referred to as “securitization.”

4. New Mexico communities impacted by coal plant closures will receive  millions in economic relief. The low-interest bonds of the ETA will also be used to finance crucial economic relief for communities impacted by coal plant closures. In the case of PNM’s San Juan Generating Station, securitization will provide over $40 million to assist plant employees, mineworkers and others with severance pay and job training. In addition, with public input from community stakeholders, the fund will assist the Four Corners’ economy to transition away from its dependence on fossil fuel extraction. Finally, the bill directs hundreds of millions of dollars of replacement power, including renewables, to be developed in San Juan County, where infrastructure already exists. The development will restore the tax base for the community and its schools after SJGS closes, and will provide substantial economic activity for many years to come.

 

 

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