Washington, D.C. and New Mexico — On December 9, The Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Civic Policy in New Mexico released a groundbreaking new report, “People-Powered: The Case for Renewable Energy Democracy in New Mexico.”
“New Mexicans are standing on a gold mine today — a gold mine made of solar and wind energy,” the report reads. “As the Energy Transition Act activates the potential for our energy sector to build renewable energy infrastructure, New Mexico is selling its potential to outside corporations. Today, New Mexicans are witnessing possibly the biggest opportunity for wealth development that the state has seen in decades.”
The report finds that if New Mexico had built its existing wind and solar generation capacity as of 2019 under public ownership, it could have generated an additional $7.7 billion in economic benefits and 61,680 additional jobs. The report strongly urges New Mexico to enact energy democracy and ensure that the renewable energy resources of the state go back into fueling New Mexican communities — instead of lining the pockets of outside corporations.
In passing the Energy Transition Act, New Mexico joined a growing number of states requiring 100% renewable energy for their electric grid by 2050 or earlier. Right now, that transition is opening the doors to outside corporations to profit from the resources of New Mexicans.
The report finds that along with $207 million in lost potential revenues, New Mexico is currently providing a total of $165 million worth of tax credit to an already well-established clean energy industry.
“For far too long, we have been told to not dream big and to conform to the status quo. This report offers an example of a prosperous and just future for all New Mexicans if we dream big and change the system to work for us and not big energy corporations,” said lead author Josue De Luna Navarro, Climate Justice Coordinator at the Center for Civic Policy in New Mexico and Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.
Short Term Policy Recommendations
- Enact a Community Solar Act that would prioritize grassroots solar energy development rather than corporate owned operations and a Local Energy Choice Act that would create a legal pathway for Tribal communities, municipalities and non-profits to choose and create their own solar farms and utility agencies.
- Create a New Mexican Community Ownership of Power Administration (COPA) – A financial and technical capacity program designed specifically to be a catalytic tool for a new energy system based on local, community benefit.
Long Term Policy Recommendations
- Require state agencies to enter into long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with community-owned renewable projects.
- Create a Public Bank designed to direct funding and financing for the capital cost for community-owned renewables to frontline and disadvantaged communities.
- Set up an Energy Democracy office which would create a pipeline for frontline community input in guiding how New Mexico should transition away from investor owned utility infrastructure to a publicly owned infrastructure. The office would also create a foundation for an agency that would oversee public energy infrastructure.
- Enact a New Mexico Public Utility Holding Company Act. The bill would force the breakup and restructuring of corporate electricity monopolies, including taking back all corporate assets and distribution lines throughout the state.
“New Mexico must act boldly and commit to a future in which we collectively own and benefit from the generation and distribution of electricity instead of depending on for-profit corporations for this essential service,” the report concludes.
To speak with a lead author of the report, contact Olivia Alperstein at (202) 704-9011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Institute for Policy Studies
For nearly six decades, the Institute for Policy Studies has provided critical research support for major social movements and progressive leaders inside and outside government and on the ground around the United States and the world. As the nation’s oldest progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS turns bold ideas into action through public scholarship and mentorship of the next generation of progressive scholars and activists.
About the Center for Civic Policy
Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Center for Civic Policy (CCP) is a nonpartisan tax-exempt 501c3 organization that works to empower and amplify the voices of everyday New Mexicans, especially those who experience oppression, to shape a more inclusive, responsive, and accountable democracy ––using a racial, gender, class, and equity lens to build transformative power through collective responsibility and build thriving communities in New Mexico.