New Mexico Energy Bill Passes Senate; Charts Bold Course to 100 Percent Carbon-Free Electricity

Statement by Julie McNamara, Senior Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Mar 7, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (March 7, 2019)—In the waning days of the 2019 legislative session, the New Mexico Senate has voted to pass the Energy Transition Act (SB 489), which calls for generating 80 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2040, an increase from the state’s current 20 percent requirement. Under the bill, 50 percent of the state’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2030. The legislation would increase renewable energy development statewide, fully decarbonize the power sector by midcentury, support affected coal workers and communities, and ensure that long-lived electricity investments are necessary and cost-effective, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Julie McNamara, senior energy analyst at UCS and the author of the 2017 report “Committing to Renewables in New Mexico: Boosting the State’s Economy, Generating Dividends for All.”

“New Mexico is poised to set a precedent with the Energy Transition Act. The bill balances the challenges and opportunities of the state’s energy transition, committing to a bold forward course while carefully navigating the shift away from coal. The bill also demonstrates the state’s willingness to thoughtfully and proactively grapple with a declining coal industry. It supports economic development and training for affected coal industry workers and communities. Throughout, the bill upholds ratepayer protections and ensures that customers will benefit.

“New Mexico’s power sector is at a crossroads, and the Energy Transition Act can serve as a valuable guide. With a strengthened renewable energy standard, a clear commitment to fully decarbonizing the state’s electricity sector by midcentury, and dedicated attention to readying the state’s workforce for good jobs that are built to last, this is an opportunity for the state’s policymakers to enact clean energy solutions with long-term benefits for all New Mexicans.”