Advanced Energy Can Fuel New Mexico’s Economy
By Katherine Bruch, Sandoval County Commissioner, Dist. 1
This summer, smoke from wildfires as close as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and as far away as the Sierra Nevada’s, blanketed New Mexico. Ongoing drought and heatwaves are threatening public safety and disrupting the systems that keep us safe and comfortable in our homes. Investments in new, advanced energy technologies—like renewables, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and energy storage—can help keep the lights on and put New Mexico back to work by creating thousands of new jobs and generating consumer savings. A new analysis from Advanced Energy Economy shows federal investments could lead to a $117 billion return for New Mexico’s economy, creating nearly 800,000 new jobs that promote good pay, economic mobility, and job security in the process.
New Mexico’s growing advanced energy sector already employs more than 11,000 people and is expected to grow 7 percent this year—that is more than those employed in the state’s building construction industry. This quickly-growing field has jobs designing and building new solar and wind energy projects, installing EV charging infrastructure, and making our electric grid more efficient and dependable. Investing in this vital industry will also put New Mexico on track to meet its 100% zero-carbon electricity targets by 2045.
As the State’s economy continues to rebound following the pandemic, investing in advanced energy can ensure the creation of good-paying jobs. The federal government is poised to invest billions into New Mexico, putting a spotlight on the advanced energy industry. Federal leaders have an opportunity to deliver these gains via a bipartisan infrastructure bill and secure initial investments in electrified transportation, grid resiliency, energy efficiency, and advanced energy manufacturing. Now is the time to call on all of New Mexico’s elected leaders to go all in on additional investments in clean electricity, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency.
A version of this article appeared in the Oct. 31, 2021, issue of the Rio Rancho Observer.