$40 million to help San Juan County communities and coal mine workers
New Mexico will be a national leader in clean energy
Scientiststell us that to avoid the worst impacts of global warming we MUST cut our greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and then 100% by 2050. Burning coal and natural gas for electricity is a leading source of those emissions.
In the 2019 session, our New Mexico legislature passed the landmark Energy Transition Act, a bill to Increase our Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). This mandated that our electric utilities convert to clean renewable energy to achieve these targets, which scientists tell us are required to preserve a livable climate. With this bill, New Mexico can be a national leader in solar, wind and geothermal energy and provide good jobs, clean air and clean water.
350NM Activists and City Councilor Pat Davis, June 2018
Sun, Wind and Geothermal: New Mexico has world class renewable energy resources: we are the second sunniest state, twelfth windiest, and rank seventh for geothermal potential.
Jobs: The wind and solar industry currently employ 3,500-4,500 New Mexicans
Health and Environment: Coal-fired power plants and natural gas extraction emit dangerous pollutants, causing asthma, heart and lung diseases, and other negative health effects. The retirement of coal plants will significantly reduce emissions of SO2, NOx, and mercury. Committing to Renewables would improve air quality and healthy, not only would New Mexican’s feel better, but we can also save money through lowered health care expenses.
How is NM electricity generated?
Coal has been New Mexico’s primary source of electricity generation for nearly two decades. But coal-fired power has declined since 2004 in response to tougher air quality regulations, cheaper natural gas, and California’s decision in 2014 to stop purchasing electricity generated from coal in neighboring states. Of course the passage of the ETA means that all electricity will be come from 100% renewable sources by 2045. New York Times, Oct. 28, 2020.
New Mexico has 16 Electric Distribution Co-ops and three investor owned utilities, which are each moving towards carbon-free generation at different paces.
PNM has already announced plans to exit coal by 2031, closing San Juan GS in 2022 and exiting Four Corners GS by 2031. It will replace San Juan with solar and batteries way ahead of the ETA schedule. You can see how much of the electricity used by PNM customers is generated by renewable energy by clicking on the image at left to visit its real time tracker.
Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which serves Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba Counties, has set a goal of installing 35 megawatts (MW) in small solar arrays by 2022 that will result in providing 34 percent of its total electricity demand using renewables – and 100% during daylight hours on sunny days.
To see how much renewable electricity New Mexico is generating today click here.
How? Passing a Renewable Portfolio Standard
This legislation does the following:
● Investor-owned Utilities: Increase the RPS to 50% clean energy like wind and solar by 2030 and 80% by 2040
● Rural Electric Coops: Increase the RPS to 40% clean energy by 2030 and 80% by 2045
Cost Protections: Create caps on the price that utilities pay for clean energy
● Reliability: Follow the national mandate that all public utilities and coops meet reliability and operational standards established by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and enforced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
● Job Training: Require that new renewable energy projects employ qualified New Mexico apprentices, encouraging diversity and representation from disadvantaged communities.
Clean Energy Presentation Tom Solomon, 350NM
These slides take you step by step to a path for 100% clean electricity for New Mexico. Tom also lays out the urgency of switching to wind, solar and geothermal quickly, as climate change is already happening.