New Mexico’s 100% clean energy law praised for worker retraining, but community concerns remain

by Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Last year, New Mexico got nearly 48 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power. According to the Energy Information Administration, 33 percent came from natural gas.

That’s about to change.

Last Friday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a law that mandates 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045, with at least 80 percent from renewable energy. It also lays out a process for closing the state’s large coal-fired power plants through a securitization process that allows Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to recover costs from ratepayers.

In addition to those provisions, advocates have lauded the bill as an example on how to transition fossil fuel workers to new jobs.

It includes about $40 million for economic development, severance and retraining for people who will lose their jobs after the closure of facilities such as the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station, planned for 2022, and the Four Corners Power Plant, slated for 2032.

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