New Mexico Bill Aims to Export Renewable Energy

A bill under consideration in New Mexico could create the essential groundwork for the state to become a large-scale net-exporter of renewable energy produced from the state’s abundant natural resources.

According to The Interwest Energy Alliance, Senator Jose Campos (D-Santa Rosa) introduced legislation (HB 111) creating a New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority to export some of the state’s vast clean energy resources in wind, solar and biomass energy. Senator Michael Sanchez (D-Belen) has introduced a companion bill, SB 317. Governor Bill Richardson has called for the development of 4,000 to 6,000 MW of wind energy in the state, along with 700 to 1,300 MW of solar and biomass energy. Most of this clean energy would be developed for export, since New Mexico requires only 3,000-4,000 MW of capacity for its own needs. Large capacity electric transmission lines could export the energy to nearby metropolitan areas in other states. “Senator Campos’ bill would help make Governor Richardson’s vision a profitable reality for New Mexico,” said the Interwest Energy Alliance, which added that the bill “would open the door for unprecedented new local economic development opportunities throughout rural parts of the state.” Warren Byrne of Foresight Wind Energy, LLC, a San Francisco-based wind project developer said there are also a number of other proposals to develop long-haul high-voltage transmission lines to bring wind resources from the interior West to power markets in Arizona and the West Coast. “New Mexico’s wind resource is world-class, but without the transmission to deliver this clean energy to markets, New Mexico could be left out of the booming market for clean energy,” Byrne said. The demand for renewable energy from California alone is growing rapidly, given its aggressive 20-percent renewable energy standard and the California Energy Commission’s recent decision to prohibit imports of new coal-fired electricity from other states. “A Renewable Energy Transmission Authority would give New Mexico a tremendous competitive advantage in exporting its huge and inexhaustible wind energy resource to other states throughout the West,” said the Interwest Energy Alliance.
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