New Mexico Passes Laws to Promote Clean Energy and Hybrid Cars
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed three energy bills into law, including a "Renewable Energy Act" that sets minimum requirements for renewable energy use by the state's public utilities. Governor Richardson also signed a bill for the state to invest in hydrogen and other cutting-edge energy sources, and to provide clean energy grants to state agencies and local governments; public schools and other educational institutions; and Indian tribes. The third bill exempts from excise taxes any purchase of a new hybrid electric car that achieves a fuel economy rating of at least 27.5 miles per gallon. See the governor's press release.
The Renewable Energy Act requires public utilities to draw on renewable energy resources for 5% of the electricity they sell starting in 2006, increasing by 1% each year until 2011, when the renewable requirement will hold steady at 10% of retail sales. The utilities can meet their renewable energy requirements by using solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and select biomass energy resources, and by using fuel cells powered with something other than fossil fuels. But the law allows the New Mexico Public Service Commission to set a "reasonable cost threshold" for renewable energy, and allows utilities to fall short of their requirements if meeting them would result in exceeding the cost threshold. The law also allows the commission to (1) give utilities extra credit for using some types of renewable energy, and (2) reduce the renewable energy requirement for commercial and industrial customers. The law codifies commission rules established in 2002.
Source: March 10 edition of EERE Network News.