Why NM Legislators Should Vote for HB 233
Summary: Sponsored by Representatives Melanie Stansbury, Abbas Akhil, and Nathan Small, and Senators Mimi Stewart and Pat Woods, HB 233 directs the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) to develop a strategic plan for energy grid modernization and help it better integrate with regional energy markets. The bill would establish a competitive grant program to support implementation of eligible grid modernization projects.
Why This Bill is Good For New Mexico
There is a critical need for NM to upgrade its renewable energy infrastructure to meet its Renewable Energy Portfolio goals and to maximize the state’s potential for generating, storing, and transmitting its abundant solar and wind resources. This is affirmed in the Legislative Finance Committee’s Financial Impact Report (FIR) by supporting testimony from the NM State Energy, Mineral & Natural Resources, which stated:
- “To meet the renewable energy policy goals of the Energy Transition Act, the infrastructure of the New Mexico electricity grid requires updating.
- The necessary updates include, but are not limited to, new circuits and transmission lines to access untapped renewable resources, optimization of grid operations to make the system work more efficiently, and adoption of new technologies to increase resiliency, such as energy storage or advanced metering infrastructure, amongst others.
- HB 233 would support the efforts currently underway in New Mexico to accomplish these grid modernization priorities.”
To meet this need, NM will be investing billions of dollars in renewable infrastructure and this spending should be guided by a thoughtful planning process. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) notes in their 2019 “Modernizing the Electric Grid” the importance of developing “holistic planning approaches and decision-making frameworks.” NCSL went on to state that: “Recent technological improvements and changing consumer demands are challenging the traditional regulatory model.”
HB 233 has been designed to ensure that monies appropriated to developing the Grid Modernization Roadmap will be spent wisely as the project is being informed and guided by national experts. From the FIR:
“NMRD, with the support of a facilitated workshop of national experts convened by the National Governors’ Association, formed a Mexico Grid Modernization Working Group, which is developing best practices for accomplishing New Mexico’s grid modernization goals. The department states that the bill would allow the work of the Grid Modernization Working Group to be expanded and put into action across the state.”
Other states have enacted similar legislation from which we can learn. From the FIR:
“A strategic planning document at the state-level can help determine which grid investments are worthwhile and minimize the potential of failed efforts. In recent years, several states, including California, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Washington have enacted legislation supporting broad grid modernization efforts.”