ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A measure reducing the amount of renewable energy sources utilities would have to tap to provide electricity for their customers by 2020 has narrowly passed the New Mexico House.
The measure sponsored by Rep. Larry Scott, R-Hobbs, cleared the chamber on a 33-32 vote late Thursday. It now heads to the Senate as the Legislature enters the final stretch of its 60-day session.
From New Mexico to New York, utilities are facing higher renewable-energy standards this year as numerous states and the federal government push for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels for generating electricity.
New Mexico’s standard increased from 10 to 15 percent at the start of the year. It’s required to hit 20 percent in 2020.
The legislation calls for eliminating the higher requirement.
“The House of Representatives just voted to take a step backwards and put the brakes on continued economic development in the renewable energy sector,” said Victor Reyes, the legislative director for Conservation Voters New Mexico.
Reyes called the 20 percent requirement reasonable, saying it will spur job creation while holding utilities accountable.
Nearly 30 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories have adopted renewable-energy portfolio standards during the past decade, while several others have established goals. New York’s new requirement remains one of the highest in the nation at 29 percent, according to a federal database that tracks state incentives for renewable energy and efficiency.
Energy experts say most states are on track to meet their standards.