New Mexico Mandates More Renewable Power and Helps to Transmit It
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed two bills into law on March 5th that will dramatically increase the use of renewable energy within the state. Senate Bill 418 adds new requirements to the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, which formerly required the state's public utilities to draw on renewable energy for 10 percent of their electricity needs by 2011. Under the new bill, public utilities must continue ramping up after 2011, drawing on renewable energy for 15 percent of their electricity needs by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020. The bill also requires rural electric cooperatives to draw on renewable energy for 5 percent of their electricity needs by 2015, increasing to 10 percent by 2020. The bill defines renewable energy as coming from new hydropower facilities, from fuel cells that are not fossil-fueled, and from biomass, solar, wind, and geothermal resources. See the full text of Senate Bill 418 (PDF 59 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
House Bill 188 establishes a Renewable Energy Transmission Authority that will help New Mexico export electricity produced from solar and wind energy and other renewable energy sources. The new seven-member authority will have the power to issue bonds to finance the construction of new transmission lines (and possibly energy storage facilities) to serve new renewable energy facilities that are not being served by the state's utilities. The developers of the renewable energy projects will pay fees for using the transmission lines, thereby helping to repay the bonds. The two new bills will work together to encourage the construction of renewable energy power facilities within the state. See the governor's press release and the full text of House Bill 188 (PDF 44 KB).