New Mexico Passes Renewable-Energy Bills

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) yesterday celebrated the passage of a remarkable package of progressive energy bills, with the vocal support of a broad coalition including utilities, environmentalists, ranchers, and consumers. The centerpiece is a new law stating that all investor-owned electrical utilities in the state must generate 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2011. New Mexico is uniquely positioned to lead the country as the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,” said Dan Reicher, a former U.S. Department of Energy official: “You’ve got great sun, great wind, you’ve got biomass, you’ve got geothermal.” The Coalition for Clean, Affordable Energy estimates that the laws will result in $600 million in economic development for the state and the emission of 1 million fewer tons of greenhouse gases a year. Said Richardson: “We can have a prosperous economy. We can have sensible development. We can protect the environment, and we can have jobs.”