The House of Representatives today approved a bill that establishes a fund to expand the state's development of solar and wind power.
House Bill 242 would provide general fund money to the quasi-government agency known as the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, or RETA. Sponsor Bill McCamley is a freshman Democrat from Doña Ana County:
"We are capable of producing a lot more power, we are capable of doing more in wind and solar in this state, which would be very good for our economy and very good for our environment. We just don't have those lanes set up for the very large transmission projects."
The bill, passed on a 35 to 31 vote, would appropriate one and a half million dollars to acquire rights of way and build corridors so that more New Mexicans could access alternative energy. It could also contract with other public or private entities to provide energy to other states.
Republicans who voted against the bill said they didn't feel the Authority (RETA) should receive $1.8 million in funding but should continue trying to sell bonds for its revenue - something the Authority hasn't been able to do with much success. The bill now moves on to the Senate.