New Mexico’s recent Clean Energy Transition Act (CETA) to industrialize renewable wind and solar requirements at 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 defies the law of physics. It also defies the logic of common sense mostly because the U.S. is a democracy where the people have the final decision. Whenever administrations change from one party to the other, so do the energy policies.
During the 1970s the oil embargo created high prices of oil. The government provided incentives in million dollar grants to develop alternatives to generate electricity. In the following few years there were a number of advances in wind, solar and biofuel technology. When the embargo ended, so did the subsidies for alternative energy. Fossil fuels resumed their roles again.
When global warming became an environmental issue at the turn of the century, Al Gore popularized it with the video “The Inconvenient Truth”. Countries like Germany and even U.S. states like California reacted with defined mandates against CO2 and provided subsidies to accelerate the resurgence of renewable energy like wind, solar and biomass.
Even Gov. Richardson’s administration got into the act with the “Renewable Policy Standards” (RPSs) initially adopted in 2004 where renewable sources make up 10 percent of the investor-owned electric utilities sales by 2011, 15% by 2015 and 20% by 2020. The act was amended in 2007 by Gov. Richardson himself because those percentages could not be met. The same thing is going to happen with the Clean Energy Transition Act percentages over the next 30 years.
The history and experience with renewable energy in New Mexico the last 20 years defies any probability that New Mexico will achieve 100% renewable wind and solar by 2050. Even the 50% mandate by 2030 is not going to happen without a lot of supplemental energy from natural gas backup (about 60%) or from Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant in Arizona. Higher prices for renewable electricity are guaranteed because of unreliability and energy dilution requiring more expensive land, transmission lines and mining raw materials.
After the election of 2022, we may very well have a different governor and the state’s mandated energy policies will change again.
Thank God we still have oil and gas, but for how long?