March 12, 2019

New Mexico Takes Bold New Step with Passage of 100 Percent Carbon-Free Electricity Bill

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

SANTA FE, N.M. (March 12, 2019)—The New Mexico legislature has passed the Energy Transition Act (SB 489), which calls for 100 percent of the state’s electricity to come from carbon-free resources by midcentury. The bill requires large utilities to generate 80 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2040. The state’s co-ops will have until 2050 to hit that mark. In addition, the legislation establishes a transition plan for coal-plant workers and communities.  

Below is a statement by Julie McNamara, senior energy analyst at UCS. McNamara authored the 2017 report “Committing to Renewables in New Mexico: Boosting the State’s Economy, Generating Dividends for All,” which demonstrated that a high level of renewables is cost-effective for the state.  

“The Energy Transition Act not only offers a proactive plan for economic resilience in affected coal communities, it also ensures that the resources built to take coal’s place will commit New Mexico to an ambitious clean energy path. 

“New Mexico’s not alone in facing closures of coal-fired power plants due to cleaner and cheaper alternatives. While transitioning away from coal presents an incredible opportunity for New Mexico to slash carbon emissions, clean the air, and create a vibrant, clean energy economy, coal workers and coal communities must not be left behind. Instead of ducking hard truths, New Mexico’s state legislators confronted the challenges of coal plant retirements head-on—and all New Mexicans came out victorious on the other side.

“New Mexico should serve as an example to states struggling to balance the challenges and opportunities of the energy transition. Other states can – and should – follow suit.”

For more information, view our previous statement on the Energy Transition Act, or McNamara’s blog on what the Energy Transition Act could mean for New Mexico.

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