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Energy Bill Could Help 'Power' NM Economy in the Future

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December 12, 2007

Washington, D.C - New Mexico could become a driving force in powering a national "green energy" economy, according to supporters of the new energy bill set for another vote in the U.S. Senate this week. New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman says the bill is meant to expand research and development for new forms of energy, and encourage more renewable energy production and greater energy efficiency. Bingaman says those goals could be good news for New Mexicans, in more ways than one.

"We have a variety of companies in New Mexico that are focused on accomplishing these objectives. The hope would be we would not only benefit from shifting to cleaner forms of energy, but we would also benefit from job creation."

The Sierra Club's Carol Oldham says a provision in the bill that would require 15 percent of all electricity to be produced from renewable sources could be a real boon for New Mexico's economy.

"It would give us a great market to be able to sell all of our renewable electricity out-of-state. Basically, any wind power or solar power that we were producing here in New Mexico, we would have a market for it."

The bill could increase the amount of electricity produced from renewable sources and raise fuel efficiency, although critics say it doesn't do enough to increase domestic oil and gas production. Democratic Senators fell short of the 60 votes needed to block a Republican filibuster of the bill last week. A revised version could be brought to the floor again as soon as Thursday.

Eric Mack/John Robinson, Public News Service - NM