New Mexico advocates hail passage of historic clean energy bill


By Jamie Trafficanda

Environmental, labor, and community groups recently celebrated the New Mexico Legislature’s passage of the landmark Energy Transition Act (ETA), a measure that will boost renewable energy production, create jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and diversify the economy in coal-impacted areas.

With the House of Representatives’ approval, the legislation now heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk to be signed into law. The governor has been a vocal proponent of the ETA, which will:

  • Ensure the state’s electricity grid is 100 percent carbon-free by 2045;
  • Increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to ensure that 80 percent of New Mexico’s electricity will be generated from renewable energy by 2040;
  • Help protect public health and reduce New Mexicans’ energy bills, by transitioning away from expensive coal-powered electricity;
  • Provide $40 million in economic support for coal-impacted regions, including job-training opportunities for coal plant and mine workers;
  • Direct up to 450 megawatts of replacement power to be built in coal-impacted regions, an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars that will replace lost property-tax base for the community after coal plant retirements.

“We applaud New Mexico legislators for investing in invaluable 21st-century job training and apprenticeship opportunities,” says Brian Condit, president of the New Mexico Building Trades. “The ETA’s passage shows New Mexico businesses – and companies nationwide – that our state is open for business and committed to building a pipeline of skilled workers.”

“The Energy Transition Act sets the course for new, good-paying jobs in the clean energy sector,” says Marcela Diaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. “Those jobs will help rural New Mexico and other parts of the state where unemployment remains high. We’re excited about New Mexico becoming a national leader in clean energy jobs.”

“Clean energy – not polluting and expensive coal – is the future in New Mexico,” notes Mike Eisenfeld, a community organizer from San Juan Citizens Alliance who is based in Farmington. “Thanks to the ETA, our community will have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from this exciting transition, while receiving vital economic support and job training.”

“New Mexico is embarking on a new energy future – one that invests in affordable clean energy and completely decarbonizes our power sector,” says Steve Michel, the Santa Fe-based deputy director of the Clean Energy Program at Western Resource Advocates. “The ETA’s carbon-free and renewable energy goals are among the strongest in the country, allowing us to protect the health and well-being of New Mexicans, strengthen our economy, and tackle climate change.”

“This is a momentous day for New Mexico’s environment and our quality of life,” says Sanders Moore, executive director of Environment New Mexico. “We can meet New Mexico’s energy needs without sacrificing our clean air and water, and we applaud the New Mexico Legislature for passing this critical legislation.”

“New Mexico legislators heard voters loud and clear when we said we want our state to confront climate change head-on – and we applaud them for taking action.” remarks Demis Foster, executive director of Conservation Voters New Mexico. “The ETA will move New Mexico forward on climate change by leaps and bounds while reducing electricity costs, holding PNM accountable, and protecting communities and workers in the Four Corners area.”

“The ETA puts New Mexico on a path to real energy independence​ and supports communities with moving away from coal,” says Stephanie Maez, the executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “We are thrilled to see this legislation approved, making New Mexico the nation’s leader in renewable energy and protecting San Juan County miners and their families.”

“With the ETA’s passage, New Mexico can now equitably transition from coal to 100 percent carbon-free electricity,” says Camilla Feibelman, director of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This is a significant win for New Mexico ratepayers, our environment, and communities in the Four Corners region who will have new opportunities to participate in our growing clean energy economy.”

Jamie Trafficanda, Earned Media Manager, 720-763-3737,