Relying on oil, coal and natural gas for the bulk of our energy needs is ultimately a losing proposition. Fossil fuels will peak and run out someday. In the meantime, they’re becoming increasingly less efficient and more environmentally harmful to extract. Burning them perpetuates so many problems (water, soil and air contamination, habitat destruction, oil spills, to name a few) that it’s clear that we need to diversify our sources of energy as soon as possible.
In addition, our reliance on fossil fuels is driving changes in our climate that are already having devastating effects on New Mexico — clearly visible in the severe drought and catastrophic wildfires we have been experiencing over the last several years.
Fortunately, New Mexico boasts a wealth of clean, renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal sources and more. We have the ability and resources to make clean energy a driving force of our economy and cost-effective for energy consumers.
New Mexico is taking the first steps toward the “power shift” by calling for major investments in clean energy like wind and solar in the Energy Transition Act, passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Lujan Grisham in March 2019. The law calls for our energy to be carbon-free by 2045, one of the strongest standards in the country. The creation of clean energy jobs — guiding the economy towards environmentally friendly, zero- and low-emission technologies while creating jobs in a down economy — is supported by New Mexicans across the political spectrum.
Clean energy jobs are appropriate and promising for individuals across New Mexico’s workforce — ranging from entry-level to advanced, highly technical positions. Despite the variation in education and skill requirements, clean energy jobs pay more than average ($22.05 in 2009, compared to $18.93 for all other occupations). And while specific numbers vary by study, clean energy jobs in New Mexico are projected to grow faster than others, which is great news in these troubling economic times.
Related Votes for Energy & Climate Change
- Air Quality
- Energy &
- Wildlife & Habitat
Community Solar Act more
Summary: HB 9 provided for the establishment of a phased-in community solar program to facilitate the development and interconnection of community solar facilities. It also created a low-income assistance fund to benefit low-income subscribers. This would have stimulated the growth of the solar industry and expanded the number of New Mexicans who have access to solar energy.
Outcome: HB 9 passed out of committee but failed in the House 28-36.
Brian F. Egolf
Andrea A. Romero
Patricia Roybal Caballero
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
PRC Reorganization & Transfer Duties more
Summary: HB 11 would have turned existing Public Regulation Commission (PRC) advocacy staff into two entities: a Commissioner Resources Division to supplement PRC commissioners and hearing examiners in their understanding, and a separate Office of PRC Regulatory Affairs housed in New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department that would advocate in the public interest. The bill also included some staff restructuring to provide some continuity for existing PRC staff.
Outcome: HB 11 passed the House 36-34, but was tabled and died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Nathan P. Small
Linda M. Trujillo
Gas Taxes, New Funds & Distributions more
Summary: HB 173 imposed new gas and special fuel surtaxes that would have funded the new Clean Infrastructure Fund and a new Low-Income Rebate Fund. These funds would have resourced pro-conservation infrastructure improvements, and rebates to low-income taxpayers for their payment of gas and special fuel surtaxes.
Outcome: HB 173 was tabled and died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
Energy Storage System Tax Credit Changes more
Summary: HB 201 allowed a taxpayer to claim a tax credit for up to 40% of the cost of an energy storage system, up to $5,000.
Outcome: HB 201 died in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.
Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit more
Summary: HB 217 established an income tax credit for the purchase of an electric vehicle, and capped the electric vehicle value at less than $48,000 MSRP. It also established an income tax credit for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. This bill could have encouraged the sale of affordable electric vehicles and encouraged the development of vehicle charging infrastructure.
Outcome: HB 217 passed the House 40-27 and passed the Senate 23-13. The House failed to concur with the Senate amendments due to filibuster and the bill died.
Micaela Lara Cadena
Jim R. Trujillo
Oil & Gas Tax Changes more
Summary: HB 318 created a temporary tax rate differential for oil produced by a qualified recovery project that uses anthropogenic carbon dioxide to displace oil. This legislation would have effectively been a tax cut for the oil and gas industry when they used enhanced recovery methods.
Outcome: HB 318 was tabled and died in the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee.
Larry R. Scott
James R.J. Strickler
Energy Operating Bonding Amounts more
Summary: HM 29 would have supported future policy and required energy producers to post adequate surety bonds for cleanup from their operations.
Outcome: HM 29 passed out of committee but died on the House calendar.
Solar Market Development Income Tax Credit more
Summary: SB 29 reinstates and extends the tax credit for residential and commercial construction of solar systems and establishes an aggregate cap. This incentivizes installation of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems and utilizing renewable resources to produce energy.
Outcome: SB 29 passed the Senate 33-6 and passed the House 51-19. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 3, 2020.
Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force more
Summary: SB 95 would have made sure that private nuclear waste facilities, such as the one proposed for Lea & Eddy counties, were reviewed by the state in the same manner as federal facilities. It added a level of safeguards for high-level nuclear waste storage.
Outcome: SB 95 passed out of committee but failed to pass the Senate 15-25.
Community Energy Efficiency Development Grant more
Summary: SB 114 created the community energy efficiency development block grant fund to provide grants to counties, municipalities, or Indian nations, tribes or pueblos to fund community energy efficiency projects for low-income and underserved communities.
Outcome: SB 114 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
Gerald Ortiz y Pino
Andrea A. Romero
Know the Score > Take Action
Strategies for Energy & Climate Change
Actions that promote clean energy and tackle climate change:
New Mexico is one of the national leaders in driving the clean energy economy by adopting renewable energy standards — requiring utilities to generate a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, like solar and wind. The standards were increased this year to 50% by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2045. Since the adoption of a clean energy standard, our state’s clean energy industry has boomed, providing growing numbers of clean energy jobs that pay well.
Actions that hurt clean energy and exacerbate climate change:
No thank you!
In November 2011, Gov. Martinez’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) — a board whose members are significantly aligned with polluting industries — began hearings to dismantle rules that would reduce New Mexico’s carbon pollution. Adopted after dozens of hours of public comment, expert testimony, and cross-examination, these rules aimed to create new clean energy jobs and combat climate change. In December 2011, the board voted to overturn the state’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade program; and in March 2012, it proceeded to also overturn the state’s carbon cap rule.
Efficiency is by far the most effective energy policy there is to save money, generate jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and alleviate the environmental and health impacts of fossil fuel industries. The less energy we use, the fewer negative impacts we suffer, plain and simple. In 2009, New Mexico adopted a new energy-efficient building code that would have saved consumers money on utility bills, while spurring job creation in the energy efficiency sector and combating climate change. In June 2011, however, the Construction Industries Commission (CIC) reversed course and dismantled the energy conservation code, providing no explanation for their actions. This decision hurt New Mexico consumers and workers. More details on what happened can be found in the Albuquerque Journal.
New Mexico Green Jobs Report: 2011, NM Dept. of Workforce Solutions
Communicate with the Governor and your Legislators
Whether you’re congratulating them on their score or expressing your disappointment, be direct, courteous and polite.
The most important part is letting them know that you are paying close attention to how they vote or, in the case of the Governor, what actions she takes on legislation that affects our air, land, and water.
Calling your legislator directly and sending letters through regular mail remain by far the most effective ways to communicate with your legislators.
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor can always be contacted at the State Capitol. Except during the legislative session, state legislators should be contacted in their home districts, as listed on the current Legislators page.