Geothermal Legislation in New Mexico Goes Back to Governor for Approval

Credits: Arise News

House Bill 91, also known as the “Geothermal Resource Project Funds,” has passed the Senate and is now headed to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk for approval. This marks the second year in a row that such a bill has reached this stage.

During the 2023 legislative session, a similar bill, then known as House Bill 365, made it to the Governor’s desk but was ultimately not signed into law, as it was pocket vetoed amidst concerns over the sustainability of proposed tax cuts and financial incentives.

Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, a strong advocate for geothermal energy and sponsor of HB 91, stated that he has met with the Governor’s staff over the interim period, and she has indicated that she will sign the legislation this year.

Geothermal Legislation (Credits: NM Political Report)

HB 91 proposes the establishment of a fund that can provide grants of up to $250,000 for cost-benefit studies for geothermal projects.

The fund is also designed to provide grants for geothermal development projects for recipients representing political subdivisions such as counties or municipalities, state universities, or Native American tribes, nations, or pueblos. Additionally, the bill creates a revolving loan fund for private entities.

Sen. Ortiz has outlined a two-phase approach to the geothermal legislation. The first phase, currently in progress, focuses on providing grants and loans for entities or businesses to develop or transition to geothermal energy.

The second phase will concentrate on the long-term promotion and development of geothermal energy with the goal of supplying 100% of the state’s power demand.

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