The New Mexico legislature has passed the Energy Transition Act (SB 489), a bill that will make electricity generation 100% carbon-free by 2045 from the state’s investor-owned utilities. The bill, first introduced in February, passed the state Senate last week. The House of Representatives passed the bill 43-22.
Pending Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature on this legislation, New Mexico will join California and Hawaii as the third state in the U.S. to commit to 100% carbon-free electricity. Several other states, including Illinois, Washington, Minnesota, Florida, New York, Maine, and Massachusetts, are also considering bills that would move toward a 100% renewable energy future.
Labor and community groups like San Juan Citizens Alliance, AFSCME, Building Trades, and Somos Un Pueblo Unido joined the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in supporting this bill.
According to the Sierra Club, this legislation will:
- Require all electricity supplied by investor-owned utilities in NM to be 100% carbon-free by 2045, and all rural cooperative utilities by 2050
- Increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to require that 80 percent of New Mexico’s electricity is generated from renewable energy by 2040Help protect public health and reduce New Mexicans’ energy bills by transitioning away from expensive coal-powered electricity
- Provide $40 million in economic support for the Four Corners region, including severance and job-training opportunities for coal plant and mine workers
- Direct up to 450 MW of replacement power to be built in San Juan County, an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars that will replace the lost property-tax base for the community after San Juan Generating Station closes
Require increasing percentages of registered state and federal apprenticeships for all new energy in New Mexico
Six New Mexico communities served by the Kit Carson Electric Co-op already have 100% renewable goals. New Mexico now joins two states, Washington D.C., and 110 cities and towns across the U.S. in aiming for 100% clean energy.
In response, Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, issued the following statement:“Passage of the Energy Transition Act gives great hope to New Mexico and everyone who wants a livable future on our planet. The world’s top scientists tell us we have only 12 years to take transformative action to prevent the worst consequences of climate disruption. The Energy Transition Act is an innovative and powerful answer to that clarion call. This is a significant win for New Mexico ratepayers, our environment, workers, and communities in the Four Corners region who will have new opportunities to participate in our growing clean energy economy.”