The Energy Transition Act passed the New Mexico state House on March 12 and heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the state's new Democratic governor who supports clean energy, but losing a coal plant early causes far-reaching economic impacts.
"The Legislature has moved to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk a controversial bill designed to dramatically increase the amount of renewable energy used to produce electricity in New Mexico while also helping the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) recoup its investments in the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station near Farmington, reports Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican. PNM is the state's largest utility.
Following a three-hour debate Tuesday, the House passed Senate Bill 489 by a margin of 43-22. It was a mostly party-line vote, with almost all Democrats in favor of the bill and almost all Republicans voting against it. The measure goes now to Lujan Grisham, who has enthusiastically supported it.
The bill calls for a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio standard in the state by 2030, with a goal of 80 percent by 2040. [It also requires 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045 for investor-owned utilities, per governor's office].
Closing the San Juan Generating Station, which has been identified as New Mexico’s single largest polluter, in 2022, about 20 years before the end of its useful life, will have a severe economic impact on San Juan County, reported Hannah Grover for the Farmington
The impact of the closure will come from lost taxes, lost jobs and lost investment in the power plant.
A study commissioned by Four Corners Economic Development estimates closing the San Juan Generating Station and the accompanying San Juan Mine, which supplies all the station's coal will lead to more than $105 million in lost wages in San Juan County and nearly 1,500 lost jobs
"The bill would set up a $20 million fund to aid displaced workers and mandates any energy sources that replace the San Juan plant’s output be located in the Central Consolidated School District, which covers about 3,000 square miles," adds Terrell. The school district was identified as a big loser in tax revenue when the plant closes.
After the bill passed the Senate on March 6 on a bi-partisan vote, unlike the House, the governor stated, "With this legislation, our priorities are planted front and center, and, crucially, we do not leave our neighbors in San Juan County behind.”
Western Resource Advocates, representing environmental, labor, and community groups, celebrated the passage of the landmark legislation. In addition to boosting renewable energy production, they noted it would "create jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and diversify the economy in coal-impacted areas."
When Red States Turn Blue, February 7, 2019
District of Columbia to Adopt the Nation's Strongest Renewable Energy Target, December 23, 2018
California May Join Hawaii With 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2045, August 30, 2018
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Proposal Would Transform L.A.’s ‘Freeway to Nowhere’ Into Park, Housing
A never-completed freeway segment could see new life as a mixed-use development with housing, commercial space, and one of the county’s largest parks.
Report: Bike Lanes Can't Make up for New Roads
If California wants to meet its climate goals, the state must stop funding its myriad road construction and expansion projects.
Minneapolis Affordable Housing Project Largest in 20 Years
The city opened its first large multifamily affordable housing complex in decades, but a recent court ruling against the Minneapolis 2040 rezoning plan could jeopardize future projects.
NYC Mayor Proposes Eliminating Parking Minimums
Mayor Adams wants to stop requiring off-site parking for new buildings to reduce the costs of construction as part of the ‘City of Yes’ package of zoning reforms.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.