Lawmakers push incentives for electric vehicles

A public electric vehicle fast charging station in Albuquerque limits use to 30 minutes. Image by Marjorie Childress. Legislators are continuing their drive to encourage more New Mexicans to buy low-  and zero-emissions vehicles as part of a larger strategy to rely less on fossil fuels, while ensuring that drivers who use little or no gas still chip in to maintain the state’s highways. 

House Bill 217 would let buyers of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles take $2,500 or $5,000 off their state taxes depending on their income. It would also give them another $300 tax credit toward a home car charging station and impose a $20 to $50 annual registration fee that would go to the state road fund. New Mexicans pay 17 cents per gallon of gas into the road fund. 

Versions of these proposed incentives have been introduced four times in recent years without success.

NM lawmakers go big on renewables, handle oil, gas with kid gloves

It was a mixed session for people who care about climate change and its effects. The state secured some large-scale wins, but failed to advance measures that would diversify the electrical grid and support individual households in reducing their own carbon footprint. And while measures to hold oil and gas companies accountable for violations of the Oil and Gas Act passed, there was little appetite among lawmakers for drawing more royalty money from an industry responsible for a billion dollar surplus this year. The flagship win for Democrats was the Energy Transition Act, SB 489, which commits the state to 100 percent carbon-free power by 2050. That bill schedules a payment plan for closing the San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant that supplies Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM).

Renewable power plan aka ‘Energy Transition Act’ heads to governor

Solar panels at PNM’s Santa Fe Solar Center. It went online in 2015 and produces 9.5 megawatts, enough energy to power 3,850 average homes. New Mexico’s lawmakers have approved the Energy Transition Act, SB 489, committing the state to transitioning to 80 percent renewable power by 2040. The act also helps Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) with the costs of closing the San Juan Generating Station. It  directs $30 million toward the clean-up of the coal-fired power plant and the mine that supplies it and $40 million toward economic diversification efforts in that corner of the state and support for affected power plant employees and miners.