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Heinrich, Keller Conclude Electrifying 2019 Energy Summit: Building New Mexico’s Clean Energy Future

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (August 6, 2019) – With nearly 200 local officials and participants from across New Mexico, U.S. Senator Heinrich (D-N.M.) and City of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, along with the State of New Mexico, Bernalillo County, Rocky Mountain Institute, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded the 2019 Energy Summit: Building New Mexico’s Clean Energy Future.

This year’s Energy Summit brought local, state, tribal, and federal officials together with non-profit organizations to spark discussions on policy recommendations, resources to implement real solutions to reduce carbon emissions, and receiving technical assistance. Four areas that local governments and governmental entities received advice on were:

  • Solar: Deploying on-site solar, reducing soft costs, and improving energy options for homes and businesses.
  • Buildings: Retrofitting, electrification, and improved energy efficiency for buildings.
  • Transportation: Fleet electrification and charging infrastructure.
  • Rural Electrification: Micro-grid and storage solutions.

Senator Heinrich and Mayor Keller closed out the Energy Summit with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Navajo Nation President Jonathon Nez, mayors, and local officials announcing commitments on carbon emission reduction plans. State, tribal, and local leaders issued the following statements and commitments:

"The clean energy transition represents our state’s greatest opportunity in generations to create thousands of new jobs and attract millions of dollars of private capital to our state. I am proud to bring together so many local officials from around our state to learn from national experts—and learn from each other—about how we can make New Mexico the national leader in clean energy,” said Senator Heinrich. “Our state has some of the richest renewable resources on Earth, including wind, solar, and geothermal. Many of the actions New Mexicans can and should take to tap the full potential of those resources will happen at the local level. I’m confident that every local leader at this summit can take what they have learned and turn it into concrete plans for projects in their community. I want all of us to work together to put New Mexico in the best possible position to thrive in the rapidly growing clean energy economy."

“We are not waiting to take bold action on climate change right here at the local level,” said City of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “Today, we announced a $2.8 million federal grant to bring electric buses to Albuquerque. This is one of the projects that we’ve taken on to make Albuquerque one of the top 10 cities in the nation for renewable energy. Our goal is to get to 100 percent renewable energy use by 2030. It’s not just a number to us, it’s about equity. Our city knows the impact of climate change, as local farmers along the Rio Grande deal with changing conditions and kids with asthma can’t play outside on high ozone days. This summit brought together committed leaders who are moving the needle to address these impacts now.”

"We are always stronger when we stand together, and this summit was a demonstration of New Mexicans' shared priorities around creating a thriving and diversified energy economy that works for all of us while protecting what we already have," said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. "I want to thank Senator Heinrich for organizing this event and bringing together so many key stakeholders from across the state and political spectrum. We're working to make state buildings more energy efficient; we're working on equitable methane rules that will boost state revenues; and we're protecting communities and New Mexicans who are most affected by the changes in the energy industry. There's still more to do, and with the spirit I saw on display at this summit, I'm certain we will achieve it."

“The Nez-Lizer Administration is very thankful to Senator Heinrich and many others who made the summit a great success. It also allowed the Navajo Nation to engage with others leaders and stakeholders, and to highlight the Paragon Bitsi Ranch solar development project that we are actively working on to bring renewable energy to our communities and the State of New Mexico,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

"Our goal is to make Santa Fe the most sustainable city in the most sustainable state in the country," said City of Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber. "We know we can do it. We’ve inherited a tradition of respect for nature, the land, the sky, and the water. Now it’s our turn to use public policy, investment, engagement, and partnerships to continue that tradition and make it our shared future. Thanks to Senator Heinrich for shining a bright light on the opportunities in front of us in energy and sustainability when we all work together."

"The city of Socorro is proud to continue working with alternative energy and clean energy," said City of Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker. "We have been in the forefront of using natural gas for many of our vehicles we have the only natural gas filling station between Albuquerque and Las Cruces that’s open to the public and government vehicles. We continue to have a recycling program that is robust. We are now looking into the concept of solar farms for different areas of our community. The city is in the process of becoming our own electric utility has tri-state has been very slow and bring solar to the area of Socorro."

"We want to thank Senator Heinrich for his effort in putting together a conference to discuss this important issue,” said City of Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janaway. "Senator Heinrich also helped us with a very successful housing summit last year in Carlsbad, and his strategy to bring everyone together is the right approach. We appreciate all that Senator Heinrich has done for our growing community and its citizens."

"We are leaving the Energy Summit with precisely what we came looking for," said City of Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres. "We return home with a realistic action plan, much more knowledge, and multiple potential partners. Thank you Senator Heinrich and all of the sponsors. "

"The community in Jal is a good example of how the renewable energy industry and oil and gas industry can coexist," said City of Jal Mayor Stephen Aldridge. "East of Jal, there's a potable tank solar array. North of Jal, there's a potable tank solar array. There's a new one going in about 20 miles West of Jal. And I recently had an inquiry about an availability of an additional thousand acres in the area for another solar array."

"In 2018, Sandoval County completed the most aggressive and comprehensive energy efficiency program for a government entity in the state of New Mexico. We are so proud that we were able to take such forward-thinking steps to protect the environment and save taxpayer dollars," said Sandoval County Commissioner, District 1, Katherine A. Bruch. "Our energy efficiency program is expected to reduce our annual energy use by 40 percent, and reduce our annual costs by 35 percent."

"The Trump Administration's backwards movement on combating climate change underscores the need for local and state governments to take bold steps,” said Grant County Commissioner, District 5, Harry Browne. "Grant County is proud to join other local governments in New Mexico in reducing our carbon footprint by entering a solar power purchase agreement with PNM. We have committed to replacing nearly 70 percent of Grant County government's electricity usage with solar-generated power. And we are pursuing options to extend that figure to 100 percent, as well as to make it easier for our residents to finance their own solar power installations."