Is New Mexico Becoming America’s New Energy Capital?

The current population of the state of New Mexico is estimated to be 2.10 million people. In May 2019, state utilities used natural gas (38.1%), renewable energy (32.2%) and coal (29.8%) to generate electricity. Wind and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s use of renewable energy and natural gas, offsets the high cost of coal to keep electricity prices below the average price in the United States. In May 2019, the average price of electricity in New Mexico was 12.2 ¢ per kWh, which is the 23rd cheapest state in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States in May 2019 was 13.3 ¢ per kWh.

Climate change concerns have prompted New Mexico’s legislators to take action to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. On March 19, 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a clean energy bill, requiring that the state’s utilities generate 50% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030, 80% by 2040, and 100% by 2045. The energy bill received overwhelming support in New Mexico’s Senate and House even though the state has significant coal, oil and natural gas reserves.

American and European companies have come to New Mexico to take advantage of a new energy boom of wind. New Mexico has strong consistent winds that are ideal to build and operate utility scale wind farms. New wind farms are now signing long-term power purchase agreements to supply power for as little as 2 ¢ per kWh!

In addition to wind, New Mexico has significant undeveloped solar and geothermal potential. America’s next energy capital may move the oil fields of Texas to the wind farms in eastern New Mexico.

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