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Energy manufacturing can power NM recovery

According to reports, the New Mexico 2020 legislative session was extremely successful, providing much-needed direction for the future of the state. The session produced a very generous budget, funding many projects to improve the state’s education system, economy and health of state residents.

However, hopes were soon dashed as the nation responded to situations beyond its control – oil prices tumbled, a devastating pandemic took its toll, numerous jobs and businesses were lost forever. Now the nation attempts to resolve it all amidst mounting chaos.

Another sobering fact for New Mexico is that in the aftermath, it will continue to bear the distinction of being extremely poor as it resumes its effort to solve intractable economic problems. The truth of the matter is this can change if New Mexico squarely faces its reality and builds itself from within. Most of the dollars in our state originate from outside the state – the federal government, oil and gas production/refining companies, the film industry, etc. Although the state is fortunate to have such diversity of commerce, no business headquarters for this commerce are located within the state of New Mexico.

This reality can change if New Mexico would consider a different hypothesis for leveraging its largest asset, energy. This would elevate the state to the prominence it deserves, putting the state on a 180-degree vector toward making the state’s economy resilient and sustainable. If the state develops a new business model by establishing an internal business/industrial core through the manufacture of advanced technology for the energy sector, there will be numerous above-living-wage jobs, dynamic growth in the number of businesses, a skilled workforce and a thriving economy.

This will not be an easy task because, currently, New Mexico ranks 49th in the manufacturing share of total U.S. employment. During the period of 2008 to 2018, it lost one-quarter of its manufacturing jobs. But with planning and commitment, New Mexico can build an energy manufacturing industry with a supplier-producer-distributor model that will secure the state’s future.

This forward-looking model can produce goods and services for New Mexico, the nation and the entire world as the demand for energy increases, since the standard of living for established and developing countries rests on reasonably priced, clean and reliable energy. Candidate products to manufacture for the energy sector include goods that enable the green building industry, equipment to support energy efficiency strategies, equipment for environmental monitoring and controlling, equipment for wind farm maintenance via aerial surveillance and aerial access, synthetic production of rare earth minerals, equipment for energy acquisition from myriad energy sources and also software for advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity applications. Finally, there are also energy service needs that N.M. businesses can fulfill as well.

With this strategy, New Mexico can build a solidly promising future by recreating itself from within and eliminating its over-reliance on outside revenue. New Mexico can turn challenges into opportunities and ideas into reality with a business strategy that revolves around a New Mexico energy manufacturing industry.

There is an effort currently underway that is working to develop three key industries identified by the state. The effort seeks to establish a manufacturing industry to serve the energy sector while diversifying, growing and stabilizing the state’s urban and rural economies.

The effort is led by the N.M. Energy Manufacturing Consortium (NEMCon) and the N.M. Energy Manufacturing Institute (NEMI), which are nonprofits that coordinate and collaborate with other state entities to create an infrastructure and ecosystem for an energy manufacturing industry. NEMCon champions the commercialization of state-of-the-art materials, processes and technologies into advanced energy. NEMI is a community of business that make up the value chain of energy manufacturing and serve as the foundation for a stable and resilient energy manufacturing infrastructure.

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