The New Mexico House of Representatives passed the Energy Transition Act on March 12, which seeks to make New Mexico's electricity generation 100% carbon-free by 2045.
The bill passed the Democratic-controlled state legislature with 32-9 votes in the Senate and 43-22 in the House. Democratic governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham is expected to sign it into law soon.
Introduced in early February by several Democratic representatives, the Energy Transition Act requires the state's utilities to derive at least 50% of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030 and 80% by 2040 while the remaining share would come from zero-carbon sources by 2045.
Since the Midterm elections last year, New Mexico was on the shortlist of states primed for an upward revision to its renewable portfolio standard target with the election of Michelle Lujan-Grisham as governor. Lujan-Grisham won on a platform that includes support for an ambitious goal like the one she's about to sign into law. In addition, the governor joined a Democratic legislature that attempted to pass similar bills that sought to boost renewable energy in the state, particularly solar, but these measures were ultimately vetoed by then-Governor Susana Martinez, Republican.
The current target for major utilities is to source 20% of electricity supplies from renewable sources by 2020.
According to the New Mexico Commission of Public Lands, the state has great untapped potential for both wind and solar as well as geothermal and has about nine million acres of land available for lease to renewable energy companies.
New Mexico joins the growing number of states committing to making their electricity generation carbon-free by mid-century. Currently, California Hawaii and Washington, D.C have similar goals, while dozens of other states have ambitious renewable energy commitments that are likely to be boosted in coming years.
The project, which is a 495-megawatt storage system, is expected to be completed in May 2021.
With a busy first two months, 2019 is shaping up to by a big year for electrifying transportation.
Norway's energy giant Equinor is struggling to find new renewables project to invest in, its CEO said on March 14, urging governments around the world to offer more opportunities.