New Mexico is at an energy crossroads, and all signs point in one direction-New Mexico must forge ahead and become a leader in clean, renewable energy. We have some of the nation’s best wind energy resources, and 300 sunny days in many parts of the state. As the US reneges on its climate commitments, foreign countries and other states are seizing the opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and build the clean energy economies of the future. New Mexico must do the same.
We can’t afford to wait any longer. Our neighbors in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and other states are building out their wind and solar capacity. Demand for clean energy is soaring as other states and major corporations focus on reducing their carbon footprint. To meet growing renewable standards, states like California will demand more renewable energy. This is an opportunity for New Mexico to embrace clean energy as our economic future. New Mexico has some of the highest quality renewable energy resources in the country. It ranks second nationwide for solar potential thanks to the number of sunny days we enjoy and our higher elevation. The state’s wind resources are among the most abundant in the West. We have world-class geothermal resources.
And New Mexico needs to pivot its economy to the high-growth, high-opportunity sectors that will provide thousands of good jobs in the coming decades.
That’s why as Governor I will take quick and bold action. We will work every day not just to catch up with our peers across the region and county, but to make our state a global leader in energy production, technology, and efficiency.
- First, we will boost demand for renewables in New Mexico by increasing our Renewable Portfolio Standard. I will work to pass legislation that puts us on a path to 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 80% by 2040. These targets will put us on a clear path to reduce emissions, increase wind and solar investment, create jobs, and attract major new employers. We will further increase demand by joining interstate energy markets and approving expanded transmission infrastructure so New Mexico can export energy to high-demand markets in Arizona and California. Alongside these measures, I will join the US Climate alliance, committing New Mexico to the Paris Climate Agreement goals.
- Second, we will make New Mexico a leading clean energy supplier by ensuring we’re prepared to produce this new energy, not just for our own state but for export to growing markets across the west. Despite our vast renewable resources, New Mexico is being surpassed by other states in renewable energy investment and generation. We need to turn this around. I will act rapidly to develop transmission infrastructure and help major renewable projects break ground by 2020 to ensure eligibility for the soon-expiring federal Production Tax Credit. I will work to develop and implement a comprehensive plan that targets the most important infrastructure needs so that we are ready to become a clean energy exporter. And we’ll accelerate growth in both utility-scale and consumer-scale solar production so that we have all the renewable resources we need here at home. New Mexican families and homeowners need the freedom to install cost-effective solar arrays and contribute to our energy goals with their own generation.
- Third, as our clean energy industry grows, we’ll make New Mexico a leader in efficient and clean energy technologies to produce sustainable, good paying jobs and develop a green energy workforce across the state. New Mexico’s population can provide an ideal mix of workers to fill jobs in the green energy economy. As renewable energy and energy efficient technologies grow, New Mexico needs to work with the private sector to identify the necessary skills and education needed to support this industry. New Mexico is positioned to meet the demand for workers, with training programs already in place to help students and energy sector workers prepare for careers in renewable energy. By working with our universities, community colleges, and industry partners we will ensure that New Mexicans are prepared to take on the thousands of energy-related jobs generated in the coming years.
- Fourth, we will promote energy efficiency and conservation that is good for business, consumers, and taxpayers. We will encourage homeowners and businesses to install energy-efficiency and conservation technologies. I will work to incentivize our utilities to invest in new energy efficient technologies, which will produce energy savings. We will make the State of New Mexico an example of energy efficiency. Existing state buildings that can support it will be retrofitted with energy and cost-saving energy-efficient technologies, and all new buildings will meet exacting standards. We will also use common sense updates to our building energy codes along with sustainable building tax incentives to increase efficiency in buildings statewide.
- Finally, I will work to ensure that our residents can enjoy the lower operating costs, higher fuel efficiency rates and lower carbon emissions of electric cars. We will encourage greater energy efficiency in New Mexico’s transportation sector, adopting enhanced emissions standards and working to create the infrastructure for widespread adoption of electric vehicles in New Mexico.
These are just the highlights of my clean energy plan. Please see the full plan here. With real leadership, clear policy goals, and a governor who is determined to work every day to make New Mexico the clean energy leader it deserves to be, we will lead the nation in developing our clean energy resources. We cannot pass up this opportunity to build a strong, stable, and verdant economic future for our state, and I will be the governor who makes that a reality.