Now is the time to embrace alternative energy options

Recently, Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado decided to endorse the Paris Global Accord and set his state on a path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. He recognizes his state can save and make money because of cheap natural gas and the declining costs of solar and wind power. Gov. Hickenlooper’s vision is a win-win for both fossil fuel and alternative energy proponents.

New Mexico, with our abundance of wind and sunlight, has a tremendous opportunity to become a national model for increased solar and wind power, coupled with a decreased dependence on fossil fuels. An innovative and aggressive “energy vision” will generate a lasting positive legacy for Gov. Susana Martinez and help our state prosper economically and ecologically in the future.

New Mexico has 300-350 days of sunshine annually and fair-to-good wind resources. It ranks in the top 10 solar-friendly states. Our Renewable Portfolio Standard approved in 2004 mandates that 20 percent of our electricity must come from renewable sources by 2020. Good for us. But the present trajectory is neither innovative nor robust enough to maximize the true potential of renewable energy in our state. Given the bounty of our solar and wind energy, and the clear job creation potential therein, an aggressive harnessing of these renewable resources is in order and imperative.

The shift to more investment in renewable energy will not jeopardize our fossil fuel industry but complement it. Lowering the overall cost of energy in New Mexico will increase the efficiency of our fossil fuel industry and make these resources last longer. Today, Germany produces about 31 percent of its energy from alternative resources. In 2015 approximately 350,000 jobs in Germany were attributed to the renewable energy sector….

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