American Wind Week (Aug. 9-15) is a time to celebrate the growth of wind energy development in the United States and the continued leadership of renewable energy in New Mexico. This year marks the fourth annual American Wind Week, highlighting one of America’s major sources of clean energy that is powering our state now and well into the future. It is an opportunity to redouble our renewable energy efforts in New Mexico and increase our investments in this clean energy source. Our state made great strides in wind energy in 2019, but to reach our true potential we must remind ourselves of the environmental benefits we derive from even greater investments in this technology.
Our environment is precious, and wind energy can go a long way toward helping us to preserve it. With the passage of the New Mexico Energy Transition Act, our state proved its commitment to that goal. By calling for half of our state’s electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2030, we cemented our status as a national leader in the transition to green energy.
While we are resource-rich, we do not have a robust support structure in the state. We should work with our three national laboratories to foster more innovation in renewable technologies, establish and grow a manufacturing base within the state. We must support our educational institutions to train a skilled workforce that can install and maintain the wind and solar farms and energy storage systems that will supply our energy needs.
Wind energy is a huge part of our success thus far and of our future. Last year, wind provided almost 20% of New Mexico’s total electricity generation. In fact, the amount of electricity produced by wind in 2019 was enough to power 630,000 homes, and it helped us avoid 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 1 billion gallons of water consumption.
The current pandemic provides an opportunity for New Mexico as companies look to onshore with our partner Mexico. New Mexico is the leader in the nation for the lowest cost of renewable energy from wind and solar, and we must utilize that strength and promote “green shoring,” incentivizing companies to move their manufacturing to New Mexico and take advantage of our abundant green energy.
Increasing the number of jobs is the solution to the nexus of education, poverty and crime for New Mexicans. If we can increase jobs by green shoring, by bringing manufacturing by any of the 242 companies, such as Facebook, that have signed on to RE100 initiative – committing to 100% renewable electricity – to New Mexico, then we have a pathway to secure our leadership in green energy and deliver on the promise of its benefits to our fellow New Mexicans.
Wind Week is a great time to celebrate those successes and to call on others to join us in our pursuit of a more sustainable future. Our state has already committed to becoming a national leader in wind energy. Now, it’s time for us all to coalesce around this goal so that we can achieve the full potential for renewable energy generation.