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NM Conference Could Jump-Start Clean Energy Focus

New Mexico has joined a handful of states trying to increases the use of renewable energy, with a goal of 50 percent of its electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030. (innovationatwork.leee.org)
New Mexico has joined a handful of states trying to increases the use of renewable energy, with a goal of 50 percent of its electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030. (innovationatwork.leee.org)
January 25, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico clean-energy advocates hope to drive what they call a "green tsunami" in the next few years, now that voters have elected state lawmakers they see as more environmentally friendly.

A Clean Energy Conference on Monday features newly elected Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other speakers. Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, says providers of energy from traditional sources and backers of renewables, like wind and solar, need to work more closely together.

"We think this is going to be an important event for helping transform New Mexico into a place where we can stimulate our economy by staying ahead of the technological game," says Feibelman.

Monday's Clean Energy Conference at Santa Fe's Temple Beth Shalom includes training for a day of action to follow at the State Capitol on Tuesday. For information, look online at 'riograndesierraclub.org.'

Feibelman says the last eight years of Republican leadership in state government resulted in substantial rollbacks of environmental protections. In her view, that made it clear a better balance is needed to protect New Mexico's air, land and water for current and future generations.

"The sun shines during the day, the wind blows at night, we've got bigger and better batteries that can store this electricity," says Feibelman. “And you compare that to these old, clunky coal plants that are basically ready to be recycled."

Feibelman believes New Mexico legislators could make the state a climate-solutions leader.

"What we are hoping is that we can work together with representatives in the House and the Senate to pass legislation that the governor has already said that she will sign," says Feibelman. “But we need the legislators to know that people really believe in this stuff, and that it's time to take action."

She adds the Sierra Club supports legislation that would increase the renewable-energy standard to 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040 (SB 275), along with civil penalties for oil and gas companies that violate the Oil and Gas Act through spills or other negligence (SB 186).

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM