- Consumer advocates and the state's top law enforcement office are pressing New Mexico regulators for new restrictions on power plants, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4% annually through 2040, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The office of the New Mexico Attorney General this week presented the idea to the state's Public Regulation Commission. Regulators will now decide whether to open a rulemaking process to thoroughly consider the proposal.
- Earlier this year, two Democratic state senators proposed expanding the state's renewable portfolio standard to 80% by 2040 from its current goal of 20% by 2020. That measure died in committee.
New Mexico is moving towards a lower-carbon future, but how it will get there still remains to be determined. Supporters of the 4% annual reduction in emissions say it would eliminate millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Western Resources Advocates is one of the groups involved with proposing the new standard. Steve Michel, the group's energy policy chief, told the San Francisco Chronicle that it is "almost certain that the U.S. is going to have to address carbon pollution ... This proposed regulation would assure utilities in the state are well-positioned to address that as it emerges."
The PRC will now consider whether to move forward with the proposal as a full rulemaking.
There are signs New Mexico is heading that way. In addition to the proposed RPS expansion, the state's largest utility is looking to add more renewable power and phase out coal usage. Floated in April, Public Service Co. of New Mexico proposed retiring the San Juan Generating Station units 1 and 4 by the end of 2022. The utility also proposed exiting a deal that gives it a 13% participation share in the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant.
PNM said it would replace the coal-fired energy with more renewables, natural gas and possibly energy storage, while maintaining its stake in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.
However, while PNM is moving toward more renewables, no further action was taken on the expanded RPS bill after it was referred to the Senate Corporations & Transportation Committee.