By a 32 to 9 vote, members of the New Mexico State Senate have passed a bill committing the state to replace all carbon generation with clean energy resources between now and 2045.
Half of the state’s energy would be required to be carbon neutral in just twelve more years.
Senate Bill 489, which has won the support of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, will in particular provide financial help as a means of cushioning the cost of closing the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station in the Four Corners region.
Sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria, the legislation, now under consideration in the House Judiciary Committee, will also provide energy renewable targets for rural electric cooperatives and public utilities, as well as creating a development assistance fund and transition displaced worker assistance fund.
According to a report issued by the Legislative Finance Committee, the total fiscal impact of the legislation is currently unquantifiable.
The report also notes that the eventual closure of the San Juan Generating Station will have “significant impacts on the state general fund as well as the local communities and school districts through losses of jobs, personal income taxes, gross receipts taxes, and severance taxes.”
The legislation has won the backing of the Public Service Company of New Mexico, which owns a portion of the San Juan Generating Station.
The energy company, according to reports, has reduced the coal generation portion of its portfolio in recent years from 60 percent to 30 percent.
By Garry Boulard
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