A bill introduced by Senator Jacob Candelaria, a Democrat, which seeks to make New Mexico's electricity generation 100% carbon-free by 2045 passed the eight-member Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, with two Republican members voting against the measure.
Known as the Energy Transition Act, it would require 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 finds itself on the shortlist of states primed for an upward revision to its renewable portfolio standard target with the election of Democrat Michelle Lujan-Grisham as governor. Lujan-Grisham won on a platform that includes support for an ambitious goal like the one proposed in this bill. In addition, the governor has joined a Democratic legislature that attempted to pass bills that would 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.
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The approval is subject to 40 conditions to address issues including road conditions during construction, habitats of endangered species, land restoration, and detecting and reacting to ice conditions on turbine blades. .
In the last two solicitations, New York awarded $2.9 billion in contracts to 46 onshore wind and solar projects, facilitating $7 billion in direct investment.
The measure must pass another round of voting in 2020 as constitutional amendments in Nevada must be approved by voters a second time before becoming law.