Energy bills hit the legislative session

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While it’s a short session focused mainly on fiscal matters, state legislators are discussing New Mexico’s energy landscape.

SB 13 and HB 26 would amend the state’s Solar Market Development Tax Credit of $5 million for solar thermal and photovoltaic systems and also extend the tax credit through the end of 2024. The solar tax credit is already $5 million, but is currently divided between solar thermal and solar photovoltaic. The proposed legislation doesn’t increase the credit, but changes it so that it’s $5 million for both technologies.

In 2015, both the House and Senate passed similar bills, sending legislation to the governor’s desk. But Gov. Susana Martinez pocket vetoed the bill by neither signing nor vetoing it.

Rep. David M. Gallegos, R-Eunice, and Sen. May Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, have introduced a House Joint Memorial that, if passed, would study how to build a natural gas vehicle market within New Mexico.

Due to dropping prices, natural gas drilling in the San Juan Basin declined by 20 percent between 2007 and 2014. As noted in Gov. Martinez’s recent energy plan, the state could drive new demand for that resource by increasing the use of natural gas vehicles within the state.

And, introduced by Sen. Carlos R. Cisneros, D-Questa, Senate Memorial 34 would ask the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance to develop a temporary storage facility for nuclear waste from commercial power plants.

According to the bill, the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance was formed by the two counties and the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs; it currently owns 1,000 acres in southeastern New Mexico.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected. Our original version said SB 13 and HB 26 would increase the solar tax credit to $5 million, but more accurately the bills would allow the tax credit of $5 million for both technologies–solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, whereas before it was split between them.  

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