March 10, 2016

Stronger Clean Energy Policies, Carbon Trading Could Yield Significant Economic Rewards for New Mexico

Billions in Consumer Savings, New Clean Energy Investments Projected

ALBUQURQUE (March 10, 2016)—New analysis released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows that strengthening New Mexico’s clean energy policies, together with a national carbon emissions trading program, provides a cost-effective way for the state to cut global warming emissions, deliver significant health and economic benefits to residents, and comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay regarding implementation of the Clean Power Plan until the rule’s content is evaluated. Governor Martinez should follow the lead of governors from at least 16 other states who have announced they will move forward with crafting their state’s compliance plans. This will ensure New Mexico, which has previously come out in support of the Clean Power Plan, maintains its strong momentum transitioning to low-carbon energy.

“The Supreme Court’s procedural decision doesn’t change the reality of climate change or the urgent need to curb our use of carbon-producing energy sources,” said Jeff Deyette, senior energy analyst at UCS. “Our analysis confirms that transitioning to a clean energy economy by investing more in renewables and energy efficiency to cut carbon emissions makes strong economic sense.”

The UCS analysis found that participation in a national carbon emissions trading program, along with strengthening the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards would:

  • Reduce the typical New Mexico household’s electricity costs by 4.3 percent in 2030, resulting in annual savings of about $33;
  • Lead to $766 million in energy efficiency improvements to benefit New Mexico consumers;
  • Generate $115 million in average annual revenue during the 2022 to 2030 period from the sale of carbon allowances;
  • Yield 2,400 megawatts (MW) of new wind and solar capacity by 2030, which could stimulate more than $2.7 billion in capital investments;
  • Provide health and economic benefits worth some $223 million cumulatively through 2030 by decreasing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides pollution.

According to a different UCS analysis released in August 2015, New Mexico is one of 21 states that are already on track to surpass their Clean Power Plan emissions reduction target in 2022, and one of 20 states that will be more than halfway toward meeting their 2030 target.

“Through smart clean energy decisions already made, New Mexico is well-positioned to comply with the Clean Power Plan,” said Deyette. “But strengthening their path toward compliance provides New Mexico the opportunity to also drive billions in new capital investments, save consumers money, and improve public health. That’s something everyone should be able to support.”

Based on the analysis, UCS recommends that New Mexico continues to move forward with developing a strong and equitable carbon reduction plan that includes strengthening the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, and establishing a carbon trading program with the auctioning of carbon allowances.

For more, view a related blog post on this analysis by Deyette

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.