New Mexico lawmakers propose expanding RPS to 80% by 2040

Dive Brief:

  • Two Democratic lawmakers in the New Mexico Senate have proposed a dramatic expansion of the state's renewable portfolio standards to 80% by 2040 from its current goal of 20% by 2020.
  • Senate Bill 312 also laid out renewables goals for rural electric cooperatives, raising them to 70%. The bill was proposed by Sen. Mimi Stewart and Rep. Nathan Small.
  • New Mexico would join a growing list of states expanding their clean energy portfolios. Yesterday, Maryland lawmakers voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill that requires more clean energy, raising the goal to 25%.

Dive Insight:

States are requiring more clean energy, but New Mexico's proposed standard is a rapid step-up. And it is interesting in light of the state's Public Regulation Commission decision in 2013 to weaken the existing standards.

Among states getting aggressive on carbon: Hawaii is targeting 100% renewables by 2045, and California wants to reach 50% by 2030. But New Mexico's proposal would build in options if prices rose too high.

Under the proposed law, by 2020, the Public Regulation Commission must establish "the reasonable cost
threshold above which level a distribution cooperative shall not be required to add renewable energy to its electric energy supply portfolio pursuant to the renewable portfolio standard."

There is certainly precedent for large amounts of renewables being integrated in New Mexico. In December, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative announced plans to serve its 29,000 customers with all renewable power within six years.

A Solar Deployment Plan published by the co-op shows Kit Carson has about 5 MW of solar energy and will need to acquire roughly 30 MW more by 2023. The capacity would be constructed at multiple sites in the cooperative's territory, each roughly 1 MW in size.

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Filed Under: Regulation & Policy
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