This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 08, 2003

New Mexico Adopts Minimum Renewable Energy Requirements

After an extended period of review, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved an order on December 17th that will require public utilities in the state to use renewable energy for a percentage of their total electricity supply. By January 1, 2006, public utilities must draw on renewable energy for 5 percent of the electricity that they sell. That percentage must increase at least 1 percent per year until 2011, when renewable energy will supply at least 10 percent of the electricity sold by public utilities.

The commission's order also encourages some forms of renewable energy by allowing them to earn extra credit. New hydropower facilities less than 50 megawatts in capacity and any wind power facilities are credited with the actual kilowatt-hours that they produce, but solar power systems earn three times the actual kilowatt-hours they produce. Electricity produced from biomass, landfill gas, geothermal energy, or fuel cells earn twice their actual kilowatt-hours. For instance, a utility could meet the 10 percent requirement by using solar power for 3.33 percent of its power needs, or using geothermal energy for 5 percent of its power.

The rule exempts rural electric cooperatives in the state, although they must provide a green power option to their customers. Texas-New Mexico Power Company is also exempt until December 2006, when the utility's existing power contract expires. See the commission's order (PDF 20 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.