New Mexico bill would require competitive resource procurement at utilities

Dive Brief:

  • A bill in the New Mexico legislature would require utilities to search for the least expensive generation when proposing new power purchases or construction, a measure aimed at increasing the use of renewables in the state.
  • Sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D), Senate Bill 360 would require a competitive resource procurement process for investor-owned utilities, followed by an independent evaluation of those purchases. 
  • SB 360 is not the only piece of legislation aimed at bolstering New Mexico's use of clean energy. Two other Democratic lawmakers proposed expanding the state's renewable portfolio standards to 80% by 2040.

Dive Insight:

There appears to be a strong renewables push underway in New Mexico, and given recent resource growth lawmakers are not just tilting at windmills: Cervantes' proposal comes as the state is poised to get 10% of its energy from wind this year.

Cervantes told The Sante Fe New Mexican last week and said the proposal "begins with the recognition that the price for renewable energy is falling dramatically ... So the goal behind this legislation would be to try to encourage a competitive market, which is emerging with renewable energy.”

If passed into law, SB 360 would require utilities to use a competitive process to purchase power or construct new resources. Any application would need to be accompanied by testimony "describing the results of a request for competitive proposals for the resource that affords all resources an opportunity to bid and complies with all applicable commission regulations," according to the bill.

Another bill in the legislature aims for a similar result, by boosting the state's RPS.

Senate Bill 312 proposes a dramatic expansion of the state's renewable goals, to 80% by 2040 from its current goal of 20% by 2020. Rural electric cooperatives would have a renewables target of 70%.

Both bills are currently under consideration in the Senate Conservation Committee.

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Filed Under: Generation
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