For Immediate Release

Legislation filed to power New Mexico largely with solar, wind by 2040, as President Trump vows to halt U.S. climate action

Santa Fe, N.M. — State Senator Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque) and State Representative Nathan Small (D- Doña Ana County) filed SB 312 today that would commit New Mexico to obtain 80 percent of its energy from clean, renewable sources like solar and wind by 2040.

“As President Donald Trump starts his Presidency, this bill sends a clear message to officials in DC: New Mexico is determined to keep moving forward on clean energy,” said Sanders Moore, director for Environment New Mexico. “We’re proud to work with Senator Stewart and Representative Small to move New Mexico towards 80 percent renewable energy.”

The legislation would increase the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a state policy that requires utilities to purchase a minimum amount of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, bringing it up to 80 percent renewable electricity by 2040.

“Investing in renewable energy is a win-win for our state by playing to our strengths – plentiful, renewable solar and wind resources – and putting hardworking New Mexican first by creating homegrown jobs,” said Sen. Stewart. “Our constituents have told us over and over again that jobs and the economy are the most important issues to them. One step we can take is to support emerging sectors, such as renewable energy, that have proven successful in job creation and economic development.”

Rep. Small highlighted renewable energy jobs, stating highlighted renewable energy jobs, stating “from the Macho Springs solar farm near Hatch, Doña Ana County solar energy zones to the rapidly growing wind power in eastern New Mexico, clean creates jobs. The Clean Energy Jobs Act will offer industry the certainty they need and provide the cleaner environment New Mexicans deserve.”

Solar and wind energy industries have demonstrated growth in New Mexico. The solar industry grew 19 percent from 2014 to 2015, with 102 companies employing 1,900 New Mexicans by the end of 2015. The wind industry currently employs about 1,000 New Mexicans in direct and indirect jobs. In addition to reducing pollution from traditional energy sources, clean, renewable energy reduces electricity costs for ratepayers over time because renewables require no spending on fuel.

The Environmental Alliance of New Mexico, a coalition of more than 30 conservation, environmental justice and social justice groups, endorsed this legislation as one of five issues on its Common Agenda for the 2017 Legislative Session.

Tom Solomon and Jim Mackenzie, co-coordinators of 350.org-New Mexico, declared in a joint statement, “with this bill, New Mexico shows a strong commitment to renewable energy, a key solution to global warming, while also addressing the crippling health costs from fossil fuel pollution. Using EPA estimates, this pollution costs New Mexicans $5.8 billion per year. At a time when 25% of the state budget goes to Medicaid, this bill will both reduce human suffering from lung and heart disease AND greatly improve New Mexico’s future finances.”

“New Mexicans want to lead healthy, prosperous lives in our home state and continuing to invest in clean, renewable energy is one way we can achieve this,” says Demis Foster, CVNM Executive Director. “Our next step needs to bring the communities most impacted by pollution and climate disruption to the table as we design community-led approaches to the continuing transformation of our state’s economy.”

In recent months, major businesses, institutions, and cities across the country have committed to achieve greater renewable energy. Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, pledged to generate 25 percent of its electricity from solar energy by 2025.

President Trump has stated that dismantling the federal Climate Action Plan is among his top priorities.

New Mexico has large solar and wind resources, ranking second in the country for solar potential and twelfth for wind. In fact, New Mexico receives enough sunshine each year to provide 1,400 times more electricity than is consumed in the state and receives enough wind to provide 11 times more electricity than is consumed in the state.

“Now is the time for New Mexico to go big on clean energy,” said Moore. “We’re excited to work with Senator Stewart and Representative Small to advocate for the solutions we need.”

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Contact: Tom Solomon, 350.org at 505-328-0619 or tasolomon6@gmail.com
Sanders Moore, Environment New Mexico at 505-254-4819 or sanders@environmentnewmexico.org
Liliana Castillo, CVNM at 505-992-8683 or liliana@cvnm.org