Secretary Granholm's visit to New Mexico

Dear Friend,

The energy landscape is undergoing a massive transformation. New Mexico needs to be ready, and I’m working to make that happen. Our state is uniquely poised to benefit from advances in technologies like clean hydrogen, the growth of the clean energy economy, and widespread electrification of our homes and businesses. We also need to be honest about the challenges this transition poses—particularly for New Mexicans who have powered this great nation for the last half century by producing fossil fuels.

Last week, I invited U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to join me for a two-day visit to New Mexico. She saw firsthand all of the innovative work New Mexicans are doing and also the long-term challenges we need to confront. We started her visit by sitting down with community leaders from around our state. They have been at the forefront of planning for how we can replace the revenues currently generated by fossil fuel production and create targeted, place-specific programs for career re-training and economic diversification.

PHOTO: From Left: U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich discuss the energy transition with New Mexico community leaders in Albuquerque, August 18, 2021.

We then visited the International District to tour an exciting demonstration project led by the Community Energy Efficiency Project. They are helping families install energy efficient and electric water heaters and air-source heat pumps in their homes. These electric appliances will be more efficient than the gas-powered machines they are replacing. They also will bring families significant savings on their utility bills. I’m working to pass my Zero-Emissions Homes Act to make the climate, health, and economic benefits of electrification affordable and accessible for all Americans.

PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury tour a home in Albuquerque’s International District that is part of a demonstration project installing electric and efficient appliances, August 18, 2021.

Next, we toured the facilities of two homegrown New Mexico companies: Pajarito Powder and Kairos Power. These companies are scaling up their manufacturing of advanced energy technologies in New Mexico. They are great examples of ingenuity from our state’s Department of Energy national labs turning into commercially viable technologies.

PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich tour the manufacturing facility for Kairos Power in Albuquerque with CEO and Co-Founder Mike Laufer, August 18, 2021.

Finally, we sat down with industry and labor leaders to discuss how the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda can help us overcome obstacles in siting new energy infrastructure and construct the high-voltage transmission projects that are the key to unlocking our full potential in clean energy production. Only after we can site and build these new transmission lines can we truly rewrite the map of our energy landscape and bring many, many more massive-scale clean energy projects onto the grid.

PHOTO: From Left: U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez engage in a discussion about how the energy transition is impacting the Four Corners region and the Navajo Nation, August 19, 2021.

On Thursday, we traveled to the Four Corners region to hear more about how San Juan Basin communities will be impacted by this transition. We should never sugarcoat how hard this energy transition will be for this region that has long relied on good-paying jobs at fossil fuel facilities like the San Juan Generating Plant or the Four Corners Power Plant. We need to prioritize targeted, place-specific investments for career re-training and economic diversification in these communities.

PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm talk with Jim and Kyle Rhodes as they tour PESCO, a family-owned business in Farmington that is working with Albuquerque-based BayoTech to manufacture hydrogen reactors, August 19, 2021.

There are also exciting opportunities to make the Four Corners a hub for the rapidly emerging hydrogen economy. Secretary Granholm and I toured PESCO, a local family-owned business that is working with Albuquerque-based BayoTech to begin manufacturing hydrogen reactors in Farmington. For a variety of reasons, including a proven energy workforce with translatable skill sets—both the San Juan and Permian basins in New Mexico are ideal locations for clean hydrogen development. I’m doing everything I can to work with local leaders to maximize our potential in this industry.

President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to blaze a new path forward for New Mexico that addresses the climate crisis while creating good-paying union jobs and building a sustainable energy industry. We can’t afford to waste it.

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator