New Mexico Sets New Goals for Specific Renewable Power Sources

August 15, 2007

A new rule from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has established specific targets for various renewable power sources that utilities must meet in achieving the state's renewable energy requirement. The New Mexico legislature extended the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) earlier this year, requiring utilities to draw on renewable energy for 10% of their electricity by 2011 and for 20% of their electricity by 2020. In implementing that policy through a new rule, the PRC took the unusual step of adding additional requirements for how utilities will meet the RPS. Starting in 2011, the new PRC rule requires solar power to provide at least 20% of the renewable power supply, while wind power must provide at least 20% of the renewable power, and biomass and geothermal energy must provide at least 10%. In addition, distributed power sources must provide at least 1.5% of the renewable power supply as of 2011, increasing to 3% of the renewable power supply in 2015.

The new rule requires utilities to document their compliance with the RPS through renewable energy credits (RECs) and also requires utilities to track their use of RECs via the new Western Renewable Energies Geographic Information System. Utilities will be excused from the RPS targets if achieving them would raise the cost of electricity by more than 2% or if diversification cannot be accomplished without impairing system reliability. See the PRC press release (PDF 34 KB), the final rule (PDF 101 KB), and for background, the article from this newsletter on the new RPS requirements. Download Adobe Reader.