New Mexico – Today consumer and conservation interests are proposing an innovative Clean Energy Standard program to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. The Clean Energy Standard proposed by Western Resource Advocates, the New Mexico Attorney General and Prosperity WORKS would lower carbon pollution from electric utilities by 4% a year from 2012 levels, resulting in an 80% reduction by 2040. The Clean Energy Standard would be a market-based program, easy for utilities to implement, transparent, and cost-effective.

New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas said of the proposal:

“Today, the Office of the Attorney General along with Western Resource Advocates and Prosperity WORKS proposed a clean energy standard to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. The clean energy standard would have New Mexico’s utilities manage future costs and risks for their customers and investors by reducing over time the pollution from their power plants. Most important, the standard would have utilities reduce carbon-dioxide pollution in line with what most scientists agree is needed to avoid the severe impacts of climate change.

Given our national politics, we cannot count on the federal government to protect our health and environment. It is therefore very important for states, cities and businesses to step up and fill the void left at the federal level. This proposed clean energy standard would have New Mexico begin to do that, and I urge the Commission to take comments on the proposal and adopt the clean energy standard in the very near future.”

Steve Michel of Western Resource Advocates said, “The Clean Energy Standard is a sensible step to prepare utilities and their customers to transition to a clean energy future and address climate change. This proposed Commission rule will also help New Mexico join with other states, cities and utilities throughout the United States that are committing to reduce carbon pollution to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.”

“Limited-income populations are among those most vulnerable to climate change. The proposed Clean Energy Standard is important because it assures that New Mexico utilities will manage their costs, preserve our environment and address climate change. This will benefit us all,” said Ona Porter, President and CEO of Prosperity WORKS.

New Mexico’s utilities are already well-poised to comply with the Clean Energy Standard. Approval of the rule would allow New Mexico utilities to certify the important progress they have already made to reduce CO2 emissions, and will assure they continue to reduce carbon pollution in the future.

Under the proposed Clean Energy Standard, each utility would earn credits for its clean, low-carbon generation. The cleaner the generation, the more credits earned. For example, a typical coal plant would earn no credit, gas plants would earn partial credit, and renewable energy would earn full credit for each megawatt-hour of electricity generated. Each credit has a value of 1 metric ton of CO2 emission reduction and utilities would retire enough credits to show they achieved the annual 4% carbon reduction. A utility that emitted 10 million tons of CO2 in its base period would only emit 9.6 million tons in the first year, 9.2 million tons in the second year, and 2.0 million tons in the twentieth year. If a utility added more clean energy resources and reduced more CO2 than required, the extra credits it earned could be banked and used in future years, or sold to other utilities.

As a market-based program, the Clean Energy Standard will cause utilities to reduce carbon pollution in the most cost-effective way. Taking sensible steps now to reduce carbon pollution, consistent with limiting warming to 1.5° – 2° Celsius, will help protect all New Mexicans from the most severe health, environmental, and economic impacts of climate change.

The petitioners are urging the Commission to act quickly to issue the Clean Energy Standard as a proposed rule. At that point, all stakeholders will be able to provide comments and suggestions on the proposal. The Commission can then decide whether to adopt the Clean Energy Standard as proposed, modify it, or reject it. As proposed, the standard would be implemented in 2019.

Despite the current inaction at the federal level, the petitioners believe the United States’ commitment to address global warming will be resurrected in the future. Almost every country in the world has signed the Paris Agreement to limit global warming. States, cities, utilities and businesses throughout the United States have committed themselves to the agreement. This Clean Energy Standard would have New Mexico utilities prepare for the future and step up to do their share to address global warming. Hopefully, other Western states will follow suit.

Partners supporting Clean Energy Standard:

New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas appears before regulatory agencies when, in his opinion, the public interest of the state requires such action. He is statutorily designated to represent consumers before the Commission on matters concerning electric public utilities.

Prosperity WORKS builds the capacity of organizations and advocates for policies that generate economic prosperity for all New Mexicans. They partner with organizations across the state to provide opportunity for hard working families. For more information visit www.prosperityworks.net

Here is a Factsheet on the Clean Energy Standard

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