A bill to support the development of geothermal energy resources passed the Senate unanimously on Thursday.
SB 8 would create a center of excellence for geothermal development at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Additionally, it creates two new funds with the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to support geothermal energy development and expands EMNRD’s ability to shepherd projects.
One of the funds would provide grants to higher education institutes for research into geothermal. The other would be a revolving loan fund “for companies that need a little bit extra support to get started on a project that has great potential,” bill sponsor Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said.
He said SB 8 would position New Mexico in a way that will allow the state to “take full advantage of one of our great natural resources, our geothermal possibilities.”
“We already have great wind and solar that are under development. We’ve lagged in the development of geothermal,” he said. “And now it’s possible because of some real technological improvements that the oil drilling industry has shown to make it possible to tap into the layers of the earth that are really hot enough to generate electricity.”
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.