SANTA FE, NM -- Moments ago, state Sens. Mimi Stewart, Jacob Candelaria and Jerry Ortiz y Pino, and state Rep. Nathan Small introduced the Energy Transition Act (SB 489) in the New Mexico state Senate, setting a path for the state’s transition from dirty, expensive fuels to a clean, renewable-energy economy. The historic bill would make New Mexico a national leader in moving toward 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham committed to strong climate action in her election campaign, and on Jan. 29 she signed an executive order calling for a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gases statewide by 2030. The Energy Transition Act follows up on several of her campaign pledges, including ramping up clean energy across the state.
New Mexico joins Washington and Minnesota as the third U.S. state to introduce a 100 percent carbon-free bill in 2019. New Mexico would also join the growing number of U.S. states and cities committed to 100 percent renewable energy, including California, Hawaii, Washington D.C., and 105 cities. Six New Mexico communities served by the Kit Carson Electric Co-op already have 100 percent renewable goals of their own.
The Energy Transition Act has similar renewable-energy mandates to California’s; it also sets interim milestones, including:
- 50 percent renewable energy by 2030
80 percent renewable energy by 2040
100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045
Rural electric co-ops must provide 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, 80 percent by 2050 and 100 percent carbon-free the same year.
The bill also uses financing to provide up to $30 million toward plant decommissioning and mine reclamation and $20 million for worker severance and retraining, as well as directs hundreds of millions of dollars of replacement power to be developed in San Juan County, providing an investment of hundreds of millions and restoring the community’s tax base. Additionally, the bill provides another $20 million for economic development in San Juan County, as well as a just transition for plant and mine workers. In total, the bill provides about half a million dollars to the community. It also requires all new electric generation projects in New Mexico to provide the local workforce with registered apprenticeships for 10% of construction projects starting in 2020, 17.5% of projects by 2024, and 25% of projects by 2026.
Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, issued the following statement:
“New Mexicans are on the front lines of global climate change. Our communities suffer from dangerous drought, devastating forest fires, and freak hail storms, all of which my own family has experienced. After eight years of waiting for meaningful action from our state’s leaders toward a climate-safe future for all our kids and families, the Sierra Club joins with other environmental, labor, and justice groups across New Mexico in finally seeing hope on the horizon in this bill. Moving away from fossil fuels is a necessary first step -- building toward 100 percent clean, renewable energy will strengthen local economies and improve the health of our people for generations to come. We are deeply committed to making a transition that protects workers and impacted communities.”
Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign, issued the following:
“Today New Mexico steps into the spotlight as a national frontrunner on the road to 100 percent renewable energy. It’s up to state leaders to protect the health and economic prosperity of New Mexican communities, and this bill provides a roadmap for a clean energy transition that will improve the lives of all New Mexicans. By ensuring that its power providers remain accountable to workers and the families they serve, New Mexico can demonstrate to states across the U.S. how to lead with a bold, equitable, and achievable vision for a clean energy future. When it comes to repowering our communities with renewables, keep an eye on state energy policy: where New Mexico is heading, others will follow.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.