Energy Transition Act (ETA)
The Energy Transition Act is a landmark energy transition bill passed in New Mexico’s 2019 legislative session paving the way for the state’s just transition from fossil fuels towards a more sustainable energy economy. We are proud to have been a local voice fighting for San Juan County during the drafting process. You can see the bill in its entirety here. Below are some of the important aspects of the bill:
The bill was the result of a diverse coalition of environmental, labor and community groups working together with the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and the state administration.
RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD
Investor-owned utilities will be required to provide 50% renewable energy by 2030, 80% by 2040 and 100% carbon-free energy by 2045. Rural electric co-ops will need to provide 50% renewable energy by 2030 and be 100% carbon-free using 80% renewables by 2050.
$40 million will go to San Juan County and it’s affected communities for economic development as well as severance packages for plant and coal mine workers.
Funding and resources will go toward workforce re-training for plant and mine workers. Apprenticeships will be required for energy jobs in the state.
The bill directs up to 450 megawatts of replacement power to be built in San Juan County, an investment that could be worth about $400 million and that will replace the lost property-tax base for the community and its schools after the coal plant closes.
A minimum of $30 million will be provided for cleanup and remediation of San Juan Generating Station.
Energy Transition in Northwest New Mexico
Coal isn’t coming back. Not because of politics, but because of economics.
The early closure of the San Juan Generating Station in Farmington, New Mexico is the result of coal becoming increasingly cost-prohibitive relative to renewables. The transition doesn’t have to be devastating and if we can effectively diversify our economy, future transitions won’t be either.
Just Transition means local communities economically dependent on coal and hardest hit by global changes in energy technology are not left behind as the world transitions to cleaner energy.
Energy producers, like PNM, have a responsibility to help fund the transition. That’s why we worked hard to ensure the Energy Transition Act required they site replacement energy in the Central Consolidated School District after the plant closes.
A more diversified economy, not heavily dependent on just one industry, will ensure that future transitions will not devastate our communities or economy.
We distributed a report by Dr. Kelly O’Donnell, an economist at UNM, that quantifies our best opportunities for economic diversification and recouping lost property taxes with utility-scale solar. Diversifying our economy will require an investment, but will ultimately improve our quality of life and ensure our communities and families will thrive for generations.
By proactively embracing this energy transition and creating new economic development, we can ensure northwestern New Mexico’s future is bright for everyone.