Today, a coalition of New Mexico labor, community, and environmental organizations celebrated the passage by the N.M. Senate Conservation Committee of the Energy Transition Act (ETA). The bill, SB489, will make New Mexico a national leader in the fight against climate change, create jobs by boosting renewable energy production, retire the San Juan Generating Station, and provide worker retraining and economic assistance to diversify the economy in the Four Corners. The ETA:
- Ensures the state’s electricity grid is 100 percent carbon-free by 2045;
- Increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 80 percent by 2040;
- Helps protect health and reduce New Mexicans’ energy bills by transitioning away from expensive and dirty coal-powered electricity;
- Provides $40 million in economic support for the Four Corners that will help preserve the local tax base for schools and provide job training opportunities for coal plant and mine workers;
- Directs 450 megawatts of replacement power to be built in San Juan County, an investment of hundreds of millions that will replace the lost property-tax base for the community after the San Juan Generating Station closes.
The ETA is sponsored by Senators Mimi Stewart and Jacob Candelaria and Representative Nathan Small. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is a strong supporter of the bill and helped to negotiate a stronger Renewable Portfolio Standard as part of the measure. The ETA now heads to the full New Mexico Senate for approval.
“The Energy Transition Act leverages our state’s abundant wind and solar resources to run New Mexico on 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045,” said Steve Michel, deputy director of the Clean Energy Program at Western Resource Advocates. “With the declining costs of renewable energy, the ETA is critical to helping New Mexicans save on their utility bills while diversifying the economy of the Four Corners area.”
“Increasing our state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard is critical to protecting New Mexicans’ well-being and our environment,” said Sanders Moore, executive director of Environment New Mexico. “Our state can lead the nation on carbon-free energy generation, and the ETA’s strong renewable energy requirement will make sure we get there.”
“The ETA’s supporters in the legislature and Gov. Lujan Grisham continue to show their commitment to solving New Mexico’s most pressing environmental challenges.” said Demis Foster, executive director of Conservation Voters New Mexico. “With more than 300 days of sunshine a year and plenty of wind, we are well-poised to meet the ETA’s renewable energy and carbon-reduction goals.”
“The Energy Transition Act provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce the impacts of climate change in New Mexico and provide substantial economic relief to the Four Corners,” said Stephanie Maez, the executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “As our state transitions away from coal for cheaper and cleaner alternatives, we must do right by San Juan County families, which is exactly what the ETA does.”
“The ETA provides our state with an equitable transition from coal – one that actually benefits New Mexico ratepayers, the Four Corners community and workers, and our climate,” said Camilla Feibelman director of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. “While we opposed a similar measure last year that would have mostly benefited PNM, we are proud to support this bold solution to transform New Mexico’s energy future.”
“New Mexico’s growing renewable energy sector needs a strong pipeline of skilled workers,” said Brian Condit, president of the New Mexico Building Trades. “The ETA will provide important job training and apprenticeship opportunities to the benefit of New Mexico families, businesses, and our clean energy economy.”
Mike Eisenfeld, a community organizer from San Juan Citizens Alliance who is based in Farmington, said, “With the likely early closure of the San Juan Generating Station, the ETA provides a tremendous opportunity to diversify our economy and utilize millions of dollars in state transition funding to support local job training and economic development,” said Mike Eisenfeld, a community organizer from San Juan Citizens Alliance who is based in Farmington. “This forward-thinking plan will help preserve the tax base for our schools and give people in our diverse community – young and old – vital skills for growing a sector of New Mexico’s economy.”
Jamie Trafficanda, Earned Media Manager, Western Resource Advocates, email@example.com, 720-763-3737