The state legislature is looking toward geothermal energy to meet some of New Mexico’s future demands and to aid in the energy transition to renewable sources.
Currently, there is a sole utility-scale geothermal plant in New Mexico—the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s Lightning Dock Geothermal Plant in Hidalgo County.
But proponents of geothermal energy say it is a reliable source of baseload power that can fill in the gaps when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.
Several bills introduced this year aim to incentivize the development of geothermal resources.
Among these bills are HB 91 and HB 92, which are intended to work together.
Both of them were discussed in committees this week.
HB 91 would appropriate $600,000 to the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to create and administer a geothermal projects fund. This fund will provide grants of up to $250,000 for cost-benefit studies related to proposed geothermal projects. The House Appropriations and Finance Committee passed this proposal Thursday without opposition and it now heads to the House floor for debate.
This vote came two days after the Senate Conservation Committee unanimously passed the Senate’s version of the effort. That legislation, SB 59, is now headed to the Senate Finance Committee.
Meanwhile, HB 92 provides tax incentives for geothermal electricity production. Because it involves a tax credit, the House Taxation and Revenue Committee tabled the bill on Wednesday for possible inclusion in a larger tax package.