A Silver Lining For New Mexico’s Economy: Green Energy

By Tricia Holser

Even in the midst of overcoming the challenges of COVID-19, it’s important not to lose sight of our vital long-range goals. To that end, the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County and 350.org are co-hosting a Zoom webinar on renewable energy on Thursday, May 21, from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

“A Silver Lining for New Mexico’s Economy?” will feature a discussion about New Mexico’s economic future and consider possibilities for harnessing renewable energy. The soaring level of unemployment coupled with a plunge in oil production make this a particularly timely topic.

Moderated by Tom Solomon, co-coordinator of 350.org, the event pulls together the expertise of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg and Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart (D-SD17). The panelists will take a look at what brought us to this point and how our state can move toward a clean, green economy.

In March of last year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Energy Transition Act (ETA), establishing renewable energy standards and creating a path for a low-carbon energy transition away from coal. The ETA (Senate Bill 489), described as “the strongest package of its kind in the country,” by Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department of New Mexico Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst, sets a statewide renewable energy standard of 50 percent by 2030 for New Mexico investor-owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives.

The webinar will kick off with Tom Solomon’s overview of New Mexico’s reliance on oil as an economic driver, its impact on global climate change, the current state of the oil economy and sustainable economic alternatives to the oil economy. Each panelist will then give an opening statement on the topic, followed by Q&A, including audience participation via chat messaging. Before the webinar wraps up, panelists will have time for short closing remarks.

Register to attend at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/9815892138367/WN_mGWE2Td9RE2eDqAB9vn69w

About the panelists:

Moderator Tom Solomon is a retired electrical engineer. During his 34-year career at Intel, he led the efforts to build Intel’s first (10kW) solar array in NM in 2008, and a larger 100kW rooftop installation in 2011. Tom is now a full-time activist; he co-leads the NM chapter of 350.org and serves on the board of directors of New Mexico Solar Energy Association.

Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard previously served as a member of the NM House of Representatives representing District 43 (from 2012-2018), chaired the House Education Committee and served on the Appropriations and Finance Committee and Labor and Economic Development committees. In 2018, Garcia Richard became the first woman, the first Latina, and the first educator to serve as Public Lands Commissioner.

State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg has been in his current office since 2014. Prior to his election as state treasurer, he represented District 15 in the NM Senate from 2009 to 2013, serving on the Public Affairs and Judiciary Committees and chairing the Restructuring Committee and the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee.

New Mexico State Senator Mimi Stewart (D-SD17) is senate majority whip and a member of three standing committees: Education, Judiciary, and Committees’ Committee. Prior to her election to the senate, she represented District 21 in the NM House of Representatives from 1995 — 2014.