Carbon-free electricity is one of those concepts that used to dwell in the fringes, but it’s now officially become part of a mainstream, nationwide discussion. The idea behind this approach is simple: It aims to replace carbon-emitting electricity generation with clean alternatives like wind farms and solar power.
Over the past few months, California and Hawaii have passed bills that commit to a full transition from carbon-based to carbon-free electricity. Now New Mexico has joined their ranks, thanks to a bill recently passed by its state Senate. The legislation aims to make electricity generation from the the state’s utilities completely carbon-free over the next couple of decades.
Green For Everyone
According to the Sierra Club, this new legislation will require all electricity supplied by New Mexico’s investor-owned utilities to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2045. The state’s rural cooperative utilities will be expected to meet this standard by 2050. Also, the new legislation calls for 80 percent of the state’s electricity to be generated from renewable energy by 2040.
Right now, New Mexico relies heavily on coal-generated electricity, and the legislation aims to make the transition to clean energy as pain-free as possible for those who work in the coal industry. It provides $40 million in economic support for workers from coal plants and mines, including severance and job-training opportunities. It also requires that up to 450 megawatts of replacement power be built in the state’s San Juan County to replace the lost property-tax base that the community will suffer after the San Juan Generating Station closes.
Carbon-free electricity is now being seriously considered in a number of states. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a “Green New Deal” initiative aimed at achieving carbon-free electricity by 2040, but this proposal hasn’t yet been approved by the state legislature. States such as Washington, Maine and Minnesota are considering similar proposals.
Clean energy is essential for our planet, and it also has the potential to bring huge economic benefits. It’s good to see more and more states getting on board with this way of thinking.