SANTA FE, NM—Today, the New Mexico legislature passed the Energy Transition Act (SB 489), a bill that will make electricity generation 100 percent carbon-free by 2045 from the state’s investor-owned utilities.
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 percent 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 percent clean, 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. This legislation will:
Require all electricity supplied by investor-owned utilities in NM to be 100 percent 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 2040
Help 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 megawatts 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 percent renewable goals. New Mexico now joins two states, Washington D.C., and 110 cities and towns across the U.S. in aiming for 100 percent 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.”
Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign, issued the following:
“New Mexico is setting the pace in our transition to a 100 percent clean energy future. As the first state to pass ambitious clean energy legislation in 2019, New Mexico has set the bar for other states to meet. This legislation shows how climate and economic growth go hand-in-hand—and while reducing emissions is critical, so too is job creation and a just transition for workers. New Mexicans are ready to replace expensive, dangerous fossil fuels with a better energy economy—one that provides clean air and family-sustaining jobs, and makes major gains for communities. Congratulations to the Land of Enchantment for this big step.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, 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.