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Renewable portfolio standards benefit states

A recent op-ed column by Timothy J. Considine (“Mandating renewable energy raises costs, cuts jobs” July 11) misrepresented the benefits of renewable energy development in New Mexico and across the country.

The fact is that state renewable portfolio standards attract positive economic development of wind and solar power. This creates a more diverse energy mix that keeps costs low for ratepayers and drives private investment into local and state economies.

In short, states with the best policies are attracting the most business.

New Mexico is one of 29 states that have renewable portfolio standards. All are designed with several goals in mind: to diversify our electricity supply, spur local economic development, reduce pollution and conserve scarce water resources.

In January, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory produced a report on the benefits and impacts of renewable portfolio standards, which concluded that renewable energy drives down pollution and energy costs while creating jobs.

Specifically, the report found approximately $7.5 billion in annual environmental benefits, 27 billion gallons of reduced water use annually, $1.3 billion to $4.9 billion in reduced consumer energy prices, 200,000 American jobs, and $20 billion in annual GDP from renewable energy developed to meet renewable portfolio standards through the year 2013.

There’s nothing radical about jobs, capital investment, and land lease payments to New Mexicans.

The Albuquerque Journal’s editorial page recently applauded wind and solar contributions to our state’s economy and energy portfolio (“NM’s resources a natural for new energy production,” May 11). Over $1.4 billion in capital investment has flowed into New Mexico wind farms, and each year wind producers pay over $2.4 million in annual land lease payments to New Mexico ranchers and landowners.

As the U.S. has increasingly generated more of its electricity from renewable energy, electricity rates across the country have remained 5.5 percent lower than they were in 2009. Perhaps that is why poll after poll has shown that wide majorities of Republican, Democrat and independent voters support continuing these successful policies for home-grown renewable energy.