New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed into a law The Energy Transition Act (SB489) which will aim to source 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2040 and 100 percent by 2045.
The Energy Transition Act also promotes investments in New Mexico’s workforce to ensure residents benefit from new economic opportunities that come with tapping into renewable resources in their state.
“We applaud the leadership of the New Mexico legislature and Governor Lujan Grisham for setting New Mexico on a path to a cleaner and stronger economy just months into her new administration” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Ambitious renewable energy policies turn heads in the business community, drawing nationally-recognized corporate brands into the state and encouraging developers to invest billions of dollars into wind farms that create jobs and revenues for rural communities.”
Lisa Tormoen Hickey, Senior Regulatory Attorney for Interwest Energy Alliance, added that upgraded and expanded transmission line infrastructure will help ensure that New Mexico can implement the new policy while keeping costs low for consumers and that well-planned transmission investments typically pay for themselves within a few years, and then continue saving consumers money for decades to come through fuel cost savings and efficient use of the grid.
New Mexico’s wind industry has already drawn $3 billion in private investment and supports over 3,000 well-paying jobs in the state. For farmers and ranchers in New Mexico, wind is a drought-proof cash crop providing steady land lease payments totalling $5 to 10 million dollars each year. Access to renewable energy, including abundant wind resources, was a key consideration in Facebook’s decision to triple the size of their New Mexico data centre, representing a $1 billion investment in addition to more than 200 megawatts (MW) of wind and 80 MW of solar investment.
Wind power and transmission line infrastructure will both play a major part in helping New Mexico to affordably and reliably meet its new energy goals and build a clean 21st Century economy.
Nationally, wind power is now the lowest cost source of new electricity generation on average, which will create savings for New Mexico consumers over time. Wind now supplies 18.7 percent of the total in-state electricity generation - enough to power over half a million homes - and the state is poised to double its capacity to harness wind energy in the near term.
Transmission lines and a more efficient western power market are essential to connect the most affordable energy sources to homes and businesses in New Mexico and neighbouring states, benefiting ratepayers and unlocking significant economic investment.