Gov. Lujan Grisham signs bills expanding renewable energy, updating green infrastructure in New Mexico
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed a group of bills that will expand New Mexico’s capacity for solar energy and help modernize the state’s electric grid, advancing her administration’s work in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, economic diversification and renewable energy sector expansion.
“Climate change is a monumental challenge that requires innovative solutions,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Thanks to the leadership of these bill sponsors and the support of the Legislature, we have additional tools to meet this crisis head-on. By making solar power more accessible to New Mexicans, addressing our electric grid, and establishing tools to help expand the transmission infrastructure, we are ensuring that New Mexico is on the right track – and creating more jobs, reducing emissions and saving New Mexicans money on their electric bills.”
Senate Bill 29 – sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart and Rep. Matthew McQueen – relaunches a popular tax incentive that expired in 2016. The 10 percent tax credit toward the purchase of a solar system is available to New Mexico residents and business owners with a $6,000 cap per taxpayer per year. When the previous credit expired, solar jobs fell 25 percent across New Mexico. By reinstating the credit, we create more renewable energy jobs, reduce emissions in the electricity sector and save New Mexicans money on their electricity bills.
“Reinstating the solar tax credit has been a priority of mine since it expired in 2016, and I’m grateful that Gov. Lujan Grisham made it one of her priorities for this 30-day session,” said Sen. Stewart. “The time is right to get it back into place. The credit will help more New Mexico families and small businesses invest in solar, and will boost our statewide effort to move toward the goal of having a 50 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2030. It will also help cut pollution, save customers money, and create jobs in the clean-energy economy.”
“This is a pivotal moment,” said Rep. McQueen. “It’s time for New Mexico to encourage energy sustainability, stimulate the solar industry economy, and provide families, businesses and agricultural enterprises from all corners of the state, and in all financial brackets, the opportunity to be a part of the growing clean energy economy. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the Legislature and the Senate on Senate Bill 29, reinstating the solar tax credit and helping to move towards our reasonable and reachable goals for renewable energy in New Mexico.”
House Bill 50, sponsored by Rep. Nathan Small, expands infrastructure for renewable energy by making transmission line projects eligible for Industrial Revenue Bonds available through cities and municipalities. House Bill 50 supports transmission line projects and will promote renewable energy development by laying the groundwork to transmit power across the state.
“More renewable energy means more jobs, stronger rural communities, and a cleaner environment,” said Rep. Small. “I am proud to partner with Gov. Lujan Grisham, Senators Candelaria and Neville, and communities across New Mexico to pass House Bill 50 to jump start critical transmission line construction, unlocking renewable energy that benefits us all.”
The Energy Grid Modernization Roadmap or House Bill 233 – sponsored by Rep. Melanie Stansbury, Rep. Abbas Akhil, Rep. Nathan Small, Sen. Pat Woods and Sen. Mimi Stewart – directs the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) to develop a strategic plan for energy grid modernization and to establish a competitive grant program to support implementation of eligible grid modernization projects. The grant program will be supported by a new grid modernization grant fund, enabling the state to pursue federal funding sources previously out of reach. The bill also encourages utilities to bring forward proposals for a reliable and up-to-date electricity grid to meet growing renewable energy needs.
“Modernizing the electric grid to ensure its resilience and security is critical to our economy and the well-being of our communities,” said Rep. Stansbury. “This bill creates a framework to help ensure a more secure energy future for New Mexico. I am deeply proud of the collaboration and partnerships that have come together to make this bill possible and am looking forward to its implementation.”
“We now have a roadmap to modernize our electrical grid that will deliver safe, reliable, and clean power to every community in our state,” said Rep. Akhil. “I applaud the efforts of everyone involved in the passage of this bill and thank the governor for her leadership in paving a brighter energy future for New Mexico.”
New Mexico has already made significant strides in expanding renewable energy and laying the groundwork for how to transmit that power where it’s needed,” said EMNRD Cabinet Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst. “EMNRD looks forward to implementing the bills signed today to help diversify our economy and meet our climate goals.”
All three bills passed both houses with bipartisan support, highlighting the importance of infrastructure and renewable energy investments.