Albuquerque Economic Development: New Mexico is Home to Some of the Lowest Renewable Energy Costs in the U.S.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, UNITED STATES


Albuquerque, NM, Jan. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As businesses explore options for expansion in the new year, one important factor keeps rising to the top of the list – low-cost renewable energy. Hundreds of companies have already committed to an aggressive shift to utilize only renewable energy; others are quickly following suit. According to the RE100’s 2020 annual report, 75 percent of member companies are looking to go 100 percent renewable by 2030. For many others, they are looking for renewable energy options that are both good for business and the environment.

In 2019, New Mexico signed off on the landmark Energy Transition Act, which increases the state’s overall Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target to 100 percent of electricity sales from carbon-free generation by 2045, up from the previous target of 20 percent renewable generation by 2020. Concurrently with that passage, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), the largest electrical utility provider in the state, committed to holding a zero-carbon portfolio by 2040.

A key economic development strategy for PNM is to offer new large-scale customers a unique “build-your-own approach” to its energy costs and programs. Green Energy Rider No. 47 tariff is of greatest interest to companies like those in the RE100 which minimizes the exposure to volatility of wholesale market pricing by developing a predictable pricing structure that accurately forecasts costs. It’s a green tariff that offers predictable costs based upon the company’s needs. This green tariff is one of the reasons why Facebook chose to open a data center in Los Lunas, NM. Facebook was looking for a site that could be supported by 100 percent renewable energy.

A recent study commissioned by Albuquerque-based public affairs firm Agenda and funded by one of New Mexico’s leading solar and energy construction firms, Affordable Solar, supports the argument that the state is well positioned to leverage renewables as an economic development tool.

Dale Dekker, Founding Partner of Dekker Perich Sabatini—the region’s largest architecture firm—is seeing the benefit of renewable energies in his work. “In our region, many of our clients see the value of utilizing on-site renewable energy as a way to reduce their operating costs and provide sustainable eco-friendly facilities,” said Dekker.

The focused efforts of state legislation and partnership with the local electrical utilities is paying dividends now. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) reporting, New Mexico has the lowest cost of renewable electricity in the U.S. at the grid intersection point and is 19.8 percent below the national average. In addition to ranking first in 50/50 mix of solar and wind generation, New Mexico ranked fourth when considering weighted average of current generation capacity, at 16.78 percent below national average.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) states New Mexico’s climate is one of the top three in the nation with the best energy resources. And the state has the nation’s sixth-largest geothermal potential.

Additionally, land acquisition costs are substantially lower in New Mexico than other Rocky Mountain region states. The average pasture per acre in New Mexico is $4.17 compared with neighboring states’ average of $6.83.

Companies such as Kairos Power, which develops advanced reactor technologies for use in the energy sector, have expanded in New Mexico to take advantage of such cost savings, as well as join the vibrant renewable energy ecosystem of Albuquerque’s 12,700 acre master-planned community, Mesa del Sol. “Mesa del Sol, true to its name, has abundant sunshine all year long, with equally abundant locations for generating solar power,” said Mesa Del Sol, LLC CEO David S. Campbell. Mesa del Sol was the state’s first foray into smart grid technology and efficient energy systems through the partnership of Japan’s NEDO organization and Los Alamos National Labs.

“Some of the most productive wind farms in the nation are located in New Mexico,” said Danielle Casey, President/CEO of Albuquerque Economic Development. “This source of power is more affordable than fossil fuels, and our growing transmission infrastructure allows New Mexico to take advantage of this renewable energy resource.”          

Albuquerque and New Mexico boast more than 310 days a year of sunshine – making solar options some of the most efficient and powerful in the country. The NREL annual averages show that New Mexico gets between 5 and 5.75 kW/m2 of sunlight per day.

As for wind capacity, the American Wind Energy Association places New Mexico in the top ten with 1,953 megawatts of wind energy installed and 1,447 megawatts in construction or development. In 2019, wind energy provided about 19.6 percent of New Mexico’s in-state electricity production, ranking the state seventh in the country.

“When you add to the equation a motivated workforce and low cost of living, Albuquerque and New Mexico will rise to the top of the list for site selectors looking for a location that has it all,” Casey added.

About AED

AED is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to recruit business and industry, help local companies grow and generate quality job opportunities throughout the Albuquerque metro area. AED provides confidential assistance to businesses considering the area for expansion and new investment. Since its creation in 1960, AED has recruited more than 250 companies and more than 35,000 jobs to the Albuquerque metro area. AED also provides retention and expansion assistance to existing industry. For more information about AED, visit www.abq.org.

 

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