Published on March 13th, 2019 | by Joshua S Hill
March 13th, 2019 by Joshua S Hill
New Mexico’s Senate and House of Representatives have quickly shuffled a carbon-free electricity bill to the Governor’s desk this week which calls for generating 80% of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2040 and 100% from “carbon-free” sources by 2045.
In the wake of the 2018 election, several US states have been making steady steps towards various 100% clean electricity and renewable electricity bills, with some prioritizing renewable energy, and others allowing for carbon-free technologies such as nuclear. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois have each proposed plans. Specifically, Wisconsin is aiming for 100% carbon-free by 2050, and Illinois is looking at 100% renewable energy by 2050, as is Minnesota. This builds on 100% clean energy momentum created by Hawaii, California, and Washington DC.
Joining their ranks in the past week is New Mexico, which saw its Senate vote last week 32-9 to pass the Energy Transition Act (SB 489), and its House of Representatives similarly vote 43-22 to send the bill to the Governor’s desk.
As a result, we can quickly expect New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign the bill, as she has already expressed her support for the bill in an op-ed published last week. Further, a spokesperson for the Governor was quoted on Tuesday as saying that “The governor will sign the bill as quickly as possible — we’re hoping it is enrolled and engrossed and sent to her desk by Friday.”
“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,” said Julie McNamara, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“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.” – McNamara
“Passage of the Energy Transition Act gives great hope to New Mexico and everyone who wants a livable future on our planet,” added Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter. “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.”