Image: Todd Shoemake Shutterstock

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has approved new law that will allow her state to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2050.

The rule will be implemented gradually, and mark 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040 and 100% for utilities by 2045, with electric cooperatives until 2050 for compliance.

Lujan Grisham campaigned on the promise of bringing renewable energy to New Mexico. The governors of Wisconsin and Colorado also campaigned on similar platforms and won, and Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee pledged to get rid of his fossil fuel power plants here. 2045.

“The energy transition law is fundamentally changing the dynamics in New Mexico. It is a statewide effort, changing dynamics and outcomes, protecting future generations forever. This legislation is a promise for future generations, who will benefit from both a cleaner environment and a more robust energy economy ”.

Lujan Grisham

UNM-Taos Klauer Campus, NM. Image: Mona Makela Shutterstock

Opposition to the bill says it amounts to a bailout for the New Mexico Public Utilities Company, which is burdened with exorbitant costs at its coal-fired power plant in San Juan. PNM plans to close the facility earlier than expected in 2022 and the new bill gives it the power to roll over its current debt with new bonds at a lower interest rate that will be paid by its customers over time. Critics also say the new bill does not adequately compensate workers who will be affected by the transition to renewable energy.

But after a year of difficult negotiations, the bill has garnered support from a diverse group of sponsors, including PNM, environmental groups and unions, all of whom see the new legislation as a step in the right direction on the path to a clean energy future. , which is expected to see an expansion of industrial activity within the state.

For its part, the PNM claims to have fully supported the new law and that it is already well supported by projects to add renewable energy assets to its portfolio.

“PNM is fully aware of the challenges this legislation poses directly to our business, but we know that there is no better place than New Mexico to develop the renewable energy economy.” He added that his company will rise to the challenge head-on and strive to balance “this new path” with the needs of its employees and customers.

Pat Vincent-Collawn, President and CEO of PNM Resources.

Taken together, the new law is one of the strongest renewable energy commitments in the United States, rivaling those already enacted by California and Hawaii. The American West has often been seen as averse to renewables, but with New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada leading the way, they’ve already come out of that dynamic.

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