Governor Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) Board of Directors today announced the formation of a
statewide clean energy transmission task force to assist RETA in creating a blueprint of New Mexico's future renewable energy transmission system.
"I am directing this task force to assist RETA with coming up with a sensible, statewide
transmission system plan," said Governor Richardson. "Like President Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System, a smart, robust renewable energy grid will spur economic growth for decades to come."
The new task force comes as a recent report released by Headwaters Economics shows that New Mexico has emerged as a clean energy leader, increasing its percentage of green jobs faster than other Rocky Mountain States. The Headwaters Economic report found that New Mexico enjoyed 62 percent growth in the green jobs sector from 1995-2007. New Mexico also showed strength in wind, solar and geothermal potential. From 1990 to 2007, New Mexico's renewable energy production grew by more than 200 percent, the highest rate in the rocky mountain region.
"New Mexico's abundant sunshine and windy plains -- as well as our proximity to fast growing western energy markets -- put us in the sweet spot of renewable energy growth," said Jon Goldstein, Secretary of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources and a RETA Board Member. "RETA is helping to create the system that will carry this clean energy to market."
The task force will be chaired by Jim Noel, Deputy Secretary for New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. It will include a diverse mix of renewable energy generation, public utility, environmental and land owner interests
"New Mexico is already emerging as a major part of our nation's clean energy future," said EMNRD Deputy Secretary Jim Noel. "This group will help design a transmission system plan to further augment renewable energy growth,"
New Mexico is estimated to have 104 million megawatt hours per year (MWh/yr) of solar energy potential and 56 million MWh/yr of wind, ranking second and twelfth in the U.S. respectively.
RETA was created by Governor Richardson and the New Mexico Legislature in 2007 to plan and finance transmission lines to promote the development of renewable energy within New Mexico. RETA is one of only eight transmission authorities in the country.
Members of the Task Force comprise:
Jim Noel Chair
Deputy Secretary, New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department
Public Service Company of New Mexico
Terra-Gen Power, LLC
El Paso Electric
Audubon New Mexico
Regional Development Corporation
New Mexico Rural Electric Co-op
SunZia Southwest Transmission Project
Western Resource Advocates
ITC Grid Development
Bureau of Land Management
Edward Padilla, Jr.
Public Regulation Commission
Manuel Lujan, Jr.
Retired U.S. Congressman
White Sands Missile Range
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc