news by location
A difficult transition looms in northwest New Mexico
San Juan County, N.M., stands to lose 10 percent of its total property tax revenues when the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station closes in 2022, and the plant’s retirement will cost the area 1,500 jobs and $105 million in lost wages. State legislators are now drafting bills to bring relief funding to the region as local officials seek help. “We're looking to lose coal," the mayor of Farmington recently said.
Growing awareness in southwest U.S. of rising risk to coal-heavy economies
With the U.S. coal industry “in frank decline,” the well-being of communities in the four corners region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah is at risk as three coal-fired plants in the region becoming increasingly uncompetitive. Activists, educators and elected officials have responded by pressing for more initiatives meant to diversify the region’s economy, including a pilot scholarship project at Navajo Technical University. “This is a unique program that specifically helps communities affected by the decline in the coal industry,” said the university’s president. “It’s making many opportunities available for Navajo students, but there’s still tremendous need out there.”
New Mexico legislators acknowledge need for greater tax-base diversification in San Juan County
Lawmakers in New Mexico are grappling with how to manage the imminent closure of a coal-fired power plant in San Juan County in a way that will protect the local tax base. The state is also exploring job-retraining programs in the area alongside policies that would encourage investment in local renewable energy and natural gas projects. The San Juan Generating Station produces millions of dollars in tax revenues for the county, and its owner, Public Service Company of New Mexico, is seeking a state deal that would support a transition to other forms of more economical power generation.
Op-ed: Embracing transition, PSC of New Mexico is acting in customers’ best interest
The Public Service Company of New Mexico, the biggest utility in the state, is doing right by its customers in planning to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station by 2020 and replace it with renewable resources, gas-fired generation and power-storage technology. The transition promises to provide “important and beneficial economic development opportunities for our state and its rural communities,” writes the author, who notes that the wind and solar industries have already invested $4.4 billion locally.
Wind Boom Brings 3,000 Jobs and Billions in Infrastructure Investment to Rural New Mexico
New Mexico ranked first nationally for windfarm construction last year, according to a new study that sees the state’s rural communities benefitting especially from an influx of investment that is expected to continue. The wind industry has invested $3 billion in New Mexico and created about 3,000 jobs: “Employment runs the full gamut, from front-end field workers who assess wind resources and work with local communities to construction jobs and long-term employment for operations and maintenance folks. “Wind technicians make up one of the two fastest-growing jobs nationwide alongside solar installers.”
Coal company with mines in several states is in financial peril
An analysis of Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal shows that it is in deep financial peril, a situation that may affect communities in Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Wyoming as the company’s customer base dries up. “The cost inherent in coal-fired power are moving (utilities) away from coal," says the study’s author.
IEEFA Update: The Saudi Arabia of Solar? American Indian Country
Energy Transition Openings Now in the Four-Corners Region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah
Op-Ed: As Transition Unfolds, Local Ownership Will be Key
An op-ed writer in New Mexico makes the case against utility monopoly control of fast-growing solar energy resources: “The promise of the advanced energy economy goes beyond a cleaner environment and more sustainable power—it’s also about building a more diversified, resilient and competitive economy.”
New Mexico Legislators Urged to Expand Renewable Energy Target to 50
Lawmakers are being pressed to increase New Mexico’s renewable energy generation mandate to 50 percent of total electricity generation in the state, from 20 percent. The state’s biggest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico, is already planning to be out of the coal business by 2031.