New Mexico Governor Signs Renewable Energy and Green Jobs Bills
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed eight bills on April 9 that are expected to advance renewable energy and create "green" jobs. The legislation defines green industries as those that relate to, among other things, energy efficiency and conservation and renewable energy. The bills signed by the governor include:
- Green Jobs Bonding Act: Allows the state to use green jobs training money available under the federal Green Jobs Act of 2007. Funding will be used to train low-income individuals, veterans, tribal and rural constituencies, and other citizens of need. The bill requires the Higher Education Department and the Public Education Department to develop a state plan for green jobs training programs. (House bill [HB] 622)
- Higher education alternative energy program awards: Creates the Higher Education New Energy Development Fund to develop research programs and educational courses in the fields of energy efficiency and alternative energy. Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to eligible higher education institutions. (Senate bill [SB] 288)
- Development training funds for green jobs: Allows up to $1 million each year to be disbursed from New Mexico’s Job Training Incentive Program for development training in green industries. This bill is expected to help attract clean technology companies. (SB 318)
- Expansion of renewable energy tax credit: Changes the Advanced Energy Tax Credit, which was enacted in 2007, to include utility scale solar photovoltaic and geothermal technologies. (SB 237)
- Expansion of solar market tax development credit: Allows New Mexico’s Solar Market Development Tax Credit to piggyback on federal solar credits. (SB 257)
- Certain geothermal heat pump tax credits: Provides a tax credit for the purchase and installation of a ground-coupled heat pump for a New Mexico home, business, or agricultural enterprise. The tax credit is expected to help with the deployment of such systems. (HB 375)
- Solar energy improvement special assessments: Allows counties to impose solar energy improvement special assessments on single family, residential, or commercial property if the property owner requests it. The bill is modeled on successful initiatives in Colorado and California, and the program is voluntary for both the county and the property owner. The goal is to improve access to up-front financing. (HB 572)
- Renewable Energy Financing District Act: Allows counties and municipalities to form renewable energy financing districts to help fund renewable energy improvements. This includes solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal, or wind energy. Participating districts will place a special assessment on the property of participating owners. The district may then use that revenue to secure bonds to pay for the costs of the improvements, including bond issuance, debt service, and administrative fees. The bill will allow local governments to obtain the low-interest bonds offered as part of the federal stimulus package. (SB 647)
To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in New Mexico, see:
- New Mexico news published on the EERE Web site.
- Brief project descriptions from the New Mexico Energy Office published in the EERE State Energy Program newsletter, Conservation Update.
- New Mexico publications listed in the EERE State Publications Database.