Governor Lujan Grisham; Sens. Candelaria, Stewart; Rep. Small announce transformative energy legislation
SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday highlighted the introduction of bold, comprehensive clean energy legislation, crafted over the course of a year with the assistance of community organizations and unions and advocates, that will significantly accelerate New Mexico’s transition to renewable and zero-carbon resources, align with the progressive energy policies promised by the governor, and establish the state as a national leader in substantively addressing the causes of climate change.
Senate Bill 489 — co-sponsored by Sen. Jacob Candelaria, Sen. Mimi Stewart and Rep. Nathan Small — sets bold statewide renewable energy standards and provides a pathway for a low-carbon energy transition away from coal while providing workforce training and transition assistance to affected communities.
The Energy Transition Act, as it is formally called, sets a statewide renewable energy standard of 50 percent by 2030 for New Mexico investor-owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives and a goal of 80 percent by 2040 that investor-owned utilities must meet, subject to cost and reliability considerations.
In addition, the bill sets zero-carbon resources standards for investor-owned utilities by 2045 and rural electric cooperatives by 2050.
Importantly, the bill also establishes a pathway for an energy transition in the Four Corners area while providing relief to workers in San Juan County affected by the closure of coal units. The bill provides for training for these workers so that new renewable energy construction benefits our state and local economies in the long run; the act also uses low-interest bonds to finance economic relief for communities dealing with closures and directs that replacement power, including renewables, be developed in San Juan County as a means of restoring the community’s tax base.
“This robust package puts us in the driver’s seat, and I’m thrilled that so many New Mexico stakeholders are on board,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “The renewable and zero-carbon standards outlined in this bill are among the strongest in the country. The training provided for in this bill will deliver sustainable construction and development jobs across the state. And the economic relief envisioned in this bill will help hardworking San Juan County residents.”
“I want to applaud the governor for her leadership in working with the environmental community, all New Mexico energy partners and the legislature in developing a real and achievable plan that moves New Mexico to a 100 percent carbon-free energy future by 2045, and a 50 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2030. This legislation comes through on those promises,” Sen. Candelaria said. “This legislation also recognizes that in building a green energy economy, there’s going to be some difficult transitions. That’s why securitization is a key component of this — to ensure that we have the resources available to aid communities through the transition to a green energy future and to ensure that our public utility partners are financially healthy enough to adopt and implement the aggressive and history-making renewable portfolio standards that the governor is about to deliver on.”
“The Energy Transition Act is the result of months of work with stakeholders from across the spectrum,” Sen. Stewart said. “With this bill, we look toward a new energy future while helping to secure the livelihoods of the people of San Juan as the transition to clean energy commences. I extend my thanks to Governor Lujan Grisham for her strong support of new Renewable Portfolio Standards and look forward to working with Representative Small, Senator Candelaria, and our colleagues in the legislature to pass this bill and make New Mexico a national leader in fighting climate change.”
““The Energy Transition Act boldly sets New Mexico on course to one hundred percent clean power,” said Rep. Small. “The bill includes an improved Renewable Portfolio Standard to unlock jobs in renewable energy, and apprentice provisions to unleash New Mexican’s potential to thrive in these jobs. This statewide energy legislation encourages innovation, lays the foundation for a stronger economy and safer environment and it also directly helps communities and workers in northwest New Mexico make the transition to new forms of energy. I want to thank the many diverse stakeholders whose collaboration and commitment helped create the Energy Transition Act. I especially applaud Governor Lujan Grisham’s leadership and the diverse sponsors of Senate Bill 489.”