KUNM

Bill Limiting Renewable Standards Heads To Senate

Mar 13, 2015

New Mexico's Renewable Energy Act requires utilities to generate a portion of their energy from renewable sources.
Credit Scott via flickr

A bill passed in the House Thursday night that would ease renewable energy requirements for Public Service Company of New Mexico, El Paso Electric and Southwestern Public Service.

The bill passed by a slim margin, one vote to be exact.

It would do away with the current requirement that electricity providers generate 20 percent of their energy from renewables by 2020. The measure would also prevent any future requirements above the current 15 percent benchmark.

Rep. Larry Scott, who works in oil and gas, is the bill’s sponsor. The Republican from Hobbs argued utility rates are on the rise because of the requirement for renewables.

But environmental groups fighting the bill say the primary reason for steep rate hikes over the past few years is because of the cost of maintaining aging infrastructure at fossil fuel plants.

The bill will still have to pass through the Democratic controlled Senate, which is increasingly unlikely.

This year’s 60-day legislative session ends next Saturday.