The science is clear: climate change is already here and its impacts will be significant and long-lasting. Delaying action or taking half-hearted measures will allow global temperatures to rise even more, creating even worse disruption to natural and human systems. But there is still time to act to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. 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.
Relying on oil, coal and natural gas for the bulk of our energy needs is a losing proposition. Recent fracking booms, including the one in the Permian basin, are not sustainable and their boom-and-bust cycles create havoc for state and local budget planning. Independent data has shown that methane emissions are likely much higher than industry and federal government monitoring suggest and oil and gas facilities also emit harmful ozone and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which are known carcinogens.
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 electricity to be carbon-free by 2045, one of the strongest standards in the country. Efforts are also underway to create clean cars standards to promote the deployment of electric vehicles in the state. New Mexico is also staking out a leading role in limiting emission of methane from oil and gas production. Sharply reducing methane emissions is seen as one of the easiest and fastest ways to start stabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and start capping global warming.
Reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, capping orphaned wells, and installing solar and wind energy facilities can immediately employ oil and gas workers who are ready for a career transition. The creation of clean energy jobs, which are projected to grow faster than employment in other sectors, is supported by New Mexicans across the political spectrum. Diversifying our energy economy will also encourage other economic drivers like our growing outdoor recreation industry, too.
Four Corners Power Plant
Kadin Royston plays while waiting for her family’s water barrels to fill as the Four Corners Power Plant operates about 15 miles west of Farmington, New Mexico.
Photo: Brian Leddy
Related Votes for Energy & Climate Change
- Air Quality
- Energy &
- Wildlife & Habitat
Hydrogen Hub Development Act more
Summary: HB 4 allows public-private partnerships (PPP) to establish hydrogen hubs; outlines criteria for hydrogen hubs; outlines process for establishing PPP; creates a hydrogen hub development board and outlines duties; outlines approval process for hydrogen hub projects; tasks the New Mexico Finance Authority with administration and oversight; creates a hydrogen hub project fund; authorizes fund to award up to $250K grants; establishes revenue bonding authority; established refunding bond authority; creates an annual reporting requirement; creates (individual and corporate) hydrogen production and energy generation tax credits; allows for variable GRT deductions based on type of hydrogen produced; tasks the Dept. of the Environment with evaluation and analysis projects; calls for Environmental Improvement Board rules to be promulgated by July 1, 2024; enacts procurement code exemptions; amends the Rural Electric Cooperative and Renewable Energy Acts to include hydrogen projects; specifies methane as a responsibly sourced gas in hydrogen production.
Outcome: HB 4 was tabled and died in House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee.
Patricia A. Lundstrom
Nathan P. Small
Clean Future Act more
Summary: HB 6 establishes state greenhouse gas emissions limits; seeks net zero by 2050 (max 10% of 2005 levels) and reduction to 50% of 2005 levels by 2030; grants EMNRD authority to access resources and coordinate with other agencies to meet reduction targets; calls for promulgation of rules by June 30, 2025 by the environmental improvement board for reductions, subject to the Air Quality Control Act; outlines content of rules; creates a non-reverting state climate fund for administering and enforcing the rules.
Outcome: HB 6 passed the House committees, but died on the House calendar.
Brian F. Egolf
Nathan P. Small
Siah Correa Hemphill
Community Energy Efficiency Dev Block Grant more
Summary: HB 37 creates new state grant program for low-income households, including requirements, selection criteria, administration; creates reporting requirement for public utilities related to energy efficiency efforts, due by end of 2023.
Outcome: HB 37 passed the House 44-24, and the Senate 26-14 and was signed by the Governor on February 28, 2022.
Tara L. Lujan
Patricia Roybal Caballero
Debra M. Sariñana
Hydrogen Hub Development Act more
Summary: HB 228 created public/private partnership authority for hydrogen projects and created criteria for hydrogen hubs. Amended the Renewable Energy Act and Rural Electric Cooperative Act to include hydrogen.
Outcome: HB 228 was tabled on the House Floor.
Patricia A. Lundstrom
Enacting the Clean Fuel Standard Act more
Summary: SB 14 establishes a state clean fuel standard aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in NM; sets specific reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions - 20% of 2018 levels by 2030, 40% by 2040; outlines related rules NMED must implement within two years of the bill's effective date; creates a credit system and a clean fuel standard fund in order to fund the administration of the clean fuel standard.
Outcome: SB 14 passed the Senate 25-16, but failed and died on the House Floor.
Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit more
Summary: SB 21 amends the Income Tax Act by creating an Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit of $2,500 or $5,000 for electric vehicle purchases or leases made before January 2027; creates an Electric Vehicle Charging Unit Income Tax Credit to cover consumer installation costs up to $3,000 for electric vehicle charging units; amends the Motor Vehicle Code to add additional registration fees for electric vehicles and directs those funds to a variety of government units and funds.
Outcome: SB 21 passed the Senate committees, but died on the Senate calendar.
Additional Energy Acts Definitions more
Summary: SB 194 amends the Rural Electric Cooperative and Renewable Energy Acts to include hydrogen projects; specifies methane as a responsibly sourced gas in hydrogen production.
Outcome: SB 194 was tabled and died in Senate Conservation Committee.
George K. Munoz
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 building a clean energy economy by adopting renewable energy standards — requiring utilities to generate a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, like solar and wind. Under Governor Lujan Grisham’s Executive Order on Climate, the standards were increased to 50% emissions reductions by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2045. The new standards have empowered the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to deny permits for new natural gas plants that would exceed the standards long before they were paid off, leaving ratepayers with the cost of those stranded assets. The PRC also unanimously approved the early closure of the San Juan Generating Station and its replacement with solar plus battery storage energy located in the impacted communities, supplemented with funds to aid worker and community transition. Since the adoption of a clean energy standard, our state’s clean energy industry has boomed, providing growing numbers of good-paying clean energy jobs.
Actions that hurt clean energy and exacerbate climate change:
No thank you!
Enchant Energy is proposing to build the world’s largest coal carbon capture and storage facility in northwestern New Mexico. Under their project plans, they hope to take ownership of the soon-to-close San Juan Generating Station coal plant and keep it operational, even though PNM has said they have no interest in energy from the Enchant project and the PRC has indicated it will quickly violate mandated emissions reductions targets. Enchant also has plans to retrofit the plant with technology that would capture the carbon pollution emitted by coal-fired plants. However, carbon capture technology still allows for a percentage of climate pollutants to enter the atmosphere, and also requires significant water consumption to operate. Enchant is currently hoping to keep the plant operational until the retrofits are able to be installed, which won’t happen until 2025. This would put the plant’s operation out of compliance with the Energy Transition Act, and result in harmful emissions and pollutants that will exacerbate the climate crisis.
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.