The West continues to lead the way …

The Western Governor’s Association (WGA) merits credit on the energy front.  Schwarzenneger … Schweitzer … those Sch… guys are pushing forward on the energy front.  But, the letter before them might merit a bit more credit … Richardson …

Today, New Mexico took another step forward when Richardson signed a RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) bill into law. 

Currently, New Mexico’s large utilities must provide 5 percent from renewable sources. Today’s bill mandates an increase to 10 percent by 2011, 15 percent by 2015, and 20 percent by 2020. 

From the press release,

“I am proud today to sign a bill that will quadruple New Mexico’s use of clean electricity by 2020,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “Promoting renewable electricity keeps our air clean and it will help New Mexico meet my aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. It will also help continue to create new jobs, like those at Advent Solar in Albuquerque, and aid ranchers who want to diversify into the lucrative wind energy market.”

The second bill Richardson signed into law establishes a Renewable Energy Transmission Authority. It is designed to foster a grid (and grid connections) that enable exploitation of renewable energy sources.  The lack of transmission capacity is the most significant factor limiting wind development in the West. The RETA will provide a bonding authority to be able to help hook up, for example, wind turbines on farms to the grid for sale of the electricity across the grid.

Either of these bills would’ve been interesting new, the unusual aspect is their combination.  

“The Transmission Authority and the Renewable Portfolio Standard work in combination to dramatically position New Mexico to develop our vast renewable energy resources… We’ve just positioned our state to become extremely competitive in all aspects of clean energy development and the benefits that come with it.”

Continuing with the press release material …

New Mexico has become the nation’s the Clean Energy State. In the past few weeks alone Governor Richardson has signed a major, five state climate change agreement, announced a new Tesla electric car plant for Albuquerque and a biodiesel plant in Clovis, NM.

Again, these bills were not in isolation, but part of a strategy to transform New Mexico … for the better … a more prosperous and a more sustainable energy future for New Mexico.

Is the expression to use:  Where goes New Mexico, there goes the nation.

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