U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Water Power Program
New Mexico Passes Laws to Promote Clean Energy and Hybrid Cars
March 10, 2004
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed three energy bills into law
on March 4th, including a "Renewable Energy Act" that sets minimum
requirements for renewable energy use by the state's public utilities.
Governor Richardson also signed a bill for the state to invest in
hydrogen and other cutting-edge energy sources, and to provide "clean
energy grants" to state agencies and local governments; public schools
and other educational institutions; and tribal entities. The third bill
exempts from excise taxes any purchase of a new hybrid-electric car
that achieves a fuel economy rating of at least 27.5 miles per gallon.
See the governor's press release (PDF 131 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.
The state's new "Renewable Energy Act" requires public utilities to
draw on renewable energy resources for 5 percent of the electricity
they sell starting in 2006, increasing by 1 percent each year until
2011, when the renewable requirement will hold steady at 10 percent of
retail sales. The utilities can meet their renewable energy requirement
using solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and select biomass energy
resources, as well as by using fuel cells powered with something other
than fossil fuels. However, the law allows the New Mexico Public
Service Commission to set a "reasonable cost threshold" for renewable
energy, and allows utilities to fall short of their requirements if
meeting them would result in exceeding the cost threshold. The law also
allows the Commission to give utilities extra credit for using some
types of renewable energy, and allows the Commission to reduce the
renewable energy requirement for commercial and industrial customers.
The law codifies rules established by the Commission in late 2002. See the New Mexico Legislature Web site for the full text of Senate Bill 43, House Bill 251, and Senate Bill 86, and for background on the Commission's 2002 rules, see the article from the January 8th, 2003, edition of the EERE Network News.