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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New Mexico Governor Signs Expanded Renewable Energy Standard

New Mexico Joins Growing List of States Expanding Successful Renewable Energy Standards

On Monday, Governor Bill Richardson signed into law Senate Bill 418, which will dramatically increase New Mexico's existing Renewable Energy Standard and put New Mexico at the forefront of states committed to clean energy.

“I am proud today to sign a bill that will quadruple New Mexico’s use of clean electricity by 2020,” said Governor Bill Richardson said in a press release monday. “Promoting renewable electricity keeps our air clean and it will help New Mexico meet my aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. It will also help continue to create new jobs, like those at Advent Solar in Albuquerque, and aid ranchers who want to diversify into the lucrative wind energy market.”

In 2004 Governor Richardson signed New Mexico’s first Renewable Energy Standard into law. This law, also known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard, mandated that 5% of New Mexico’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2006, increasing to 10% by 2011. Senator Michael Sanchez’s Senate Bill 418 requires that at least 15 percent of an electric utility's power supply come from renewable sources by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020.

The original 2004 Renewable Energy Standard (RES) only applied to New Mexico's investor-owned utilities. The new expanded RES includes the states public utility district's and municipal and rural electric cooperatives, setting a smaller standard of 5% by 2015 and 10% by 2020 for these consumer-owned utilities.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously (32-0) and the House by a broad bipartisan vote of 43 to 18.

New Mexico joins several other states who have recently expanded their existing succesful Renewable Energy Standards including California, Arizona, and Minnesota.

Colorado is also set to join the list. The Colorado House passed a bill last week that will double the Renewable Energy Standard adopted by Colorado voters in 2004 to 20% by 2020 as well.

Governor Richardson also signed House Bill 188 on Monday. The bill creates a Renewable Energy Transmission Authority to promote clean energy jobs and help New Mexico both develop our clean energy resources and market them to other states.

“The Transmission Authority and the Renewable Portfolio Standard work in combination to dramatically position New Mexico to develop our vast renewable energy resources,” said Joanna Prukop Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources. “We've just positioned our state to become extremely competitive in all aspects of clean energy development and the benefits that come with it.”

In the past few weeks Governor Richardson has also signed a major, five state climate change agreement, announced a new Tesla electric car plant for Albuquerque and a biodiesel plant in Clovis, NM.

“I am proud that both these bills passed with bipartisan support,” said Governor Richardson. “That is because New Mexico is hungry for clean energy and the good jobs that come with this new industry.”

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