The Energy Transition Act will boost renewable energy production, create thousands of new careers, reduce carbon pollution, and diversify New Mexico’s economy, while providing real support for the hard-working families who will be impacted by our transition away from coal-fired generating plants. The balanced approach of this new law has strong support from all across our state, including a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, as well as the Navajo Nation and business, environmental, labor and community groups.
The new law sets important benchmarks for reducing carbon emissions, ensuring that 80 percent of New Mexico’s electricity is generated from renewable resources by 2040 and that the electricity grid is 100 percent carbon-free by 2045. These are much-needed targets, in line with what scientists say is required to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Through the Energy Transition Act, New Mexico will meet our responsibility to act on climate change and set a standard for other states and even Congress to follow.
We can no longer resist change in the electricity sector just for the sake of trying to hold on to the past. Consumers in New Mexico and across the nation are demanding that their utilities seek cheaper and cleaner power sources. Changes in the energy sector are going to keep moving forward regardless of how well and how quickly we position our state to thrive in this new landscape.
We must not forget that any delays to implementing the Energy Transition Act will also delay the law’s funding that will pay for compensation and job retraining for workers in San Juan County and the Navajo Nation who will be impacted by the planned closure of the San Juan Generating Station. There is no perfect solution for the communities who have long depended on the jobs there. However, the Energy Transition Act takes a responsible and responsive approach. The new law will also invest tens of millions of dollars in new clean energy projects in the region that will help replace some of the lost economic impact of the coal plant.
The Public Regulation Commission should not stand in the way of the new law’s crucial transition funds that are a critical first step in a long-term commitment from the state to invest in the success of a diversified Four Corners economy. The Navajo Nation and communities like Farmington deserve our full support throughout this energy transition.