NM steps up on climate, clean energy

Throughout her campaign, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pledged to make New Mexico a climate and clean energy leader – and she is now making good on that promise.

In January, the governor signed an executive order to formally join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 22 governors working to address climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The order also included a commitment to cut New Mexico’s carbon emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030 – evidence that Lujan Grisham is serious about bold climate action. As companies committed to clean energy, we commend the governor on her leadership.

We know that transitioning to clean energy will be good for the state’s economy, while providing major benefits to our local communities. This action also sends a clear signal to businesses, the country and the world, that New Mexico is sincere in its pledge to reduce emissions and expand its use of renewable energy.

State leadership on climate is more important than ever. As the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear, we must act now to dramatically increase the pace and scale of our ambition if we are to avoid the worst effects of our changing climate.

Here in New Mexico, we are already feeling the impacts with extreme heat, drought and the growing threat of wildfires.

That is why at Taos Ski Valley we are taking steps to reduce emissions in our operations and across our supply chains. Taos Ski Valley has committed to reduce our energy consumption 20 percent by 2020.

Guzman Energy is committed to providing our customers with clean energy solutions to help them meet their sustainability goals and keep rates low.

Guzman partnered with Kit Carson Electric Cooperative – the local utility in Taos – to build a four-megawatt solar array to service the local community.

This array is part of Guzman’s shared goal with Kit Carson to dramatically increase solar energy production by adding 36 megawatts of solar generation by 2023 across their service territory, saving cooperative’s members more than $50 million over the next 10 years and reducing emissions by more than 73,000 tons.

In addition to setting the state on a path to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, Lujan Grisham also directed state agencies to work with state lawmakers to increase the renewable portfolio standard, improve building efficiency codes, reduce transportation emissions and much more.

With her support, the state Legislature passed a bill last week to increase the renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040, and require investor-owned utilities to source 100 percent of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.

Combined, these actions will allow the state to expand the clean energy economy and grow the job market.

New Mexico is already home to more than 9,600 clean energy jobs, and that number is poised to grow as skilled workers are needed to manufacture, install and operate new clean energy technologies.

New Mexico has ample opportunity to harness power from the sun and wind, both abundant resources for our state. Ambitious clean energy targets and supportive policies can help us capture that opportunity and send a signal to investors and companies that New Mexico is open for business.

This will help ensure that we take advantage of the enormous economic development potential as a growing number of companies look to invest in clean energy, which helps us to cut costs, avoid the volatility of fossil fuel prices and stay competitive.

We applaud Lujan Grisham for following through on her promise to tackle climate change and expand clean energy in the Land of Enchantment. We look forward to working together with state leaders and members of the business community to make these ambitious climate commitments a reality. Doing so will ensure New Mexico businesses and residents thrive for years to come.

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