With a new Governor and a host of bold, progressive, new State House representatives, one of the biggest wins this session could be in clean energy. We have a generational opportunity to reduce carbon in New Mexico, through the double-sided coin of increasing our state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio (RPS), the leading climate priority for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham; and retiring the San Juan Generating Station in San Juan County, a source of coal-based carbon emissions for decades.
We now have that chance. The Energy Transition Act (ETA, SB 489) was filed today, sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria and Representative Nathan Small.
Here are the top 5 things the ETA does:
- It creates an even stronger new Renewable Portfolio Standard than last week’s bill, because of some pretty tough negotiating by the Governor over the weekend, setting New Mexico on a course for clean energy for literally decades to come.
- It also provides $40MM to help coal plant and coal mine workers thrive after the shutdown of the San Juan Generating Station.
- It helps the region plan for greater economic diversity so the Four Corners area can thrive into the future.
- It provides workforce training for traditionally disenfranchised communities and apprenticeships in labor union jobs.
- Finally, it helps PNM retire the coal plant, which is critical.
Progressives around the country know that coal plants are economic drivers and help thousands of families thrive but we know that coal plants are not sustainable economically and definitely not environmentally. This ETA will ensure that securitization is part of this effort- securitization will help the economic transition for plant workers and advance the closure of the plant. Securitization is like refinancing your mortgage at a lower rate. The savings from the lower interest rate can then go to the things like funds for economic transition and workers; cleanup of the plant and coal mine site; and the utility (the homeowner in this case) to recoup some of the costs of the retiring plant. It’s been used across the country by clean energy advocates to “secure” the closing of coal plants. Remember– coal plants are one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide and therefore one of the biggest causes of climate change.
We’ll talk much more about the Energy Transition Act in the days to come, but suffice it to say, we’re hella excited! Let’s pass this bill, New Mexico!