Their view: Clean energy advocates push for N.M. land use

A snippet from a press release from The Center for American Progress on renewable energy:

The Center for American Progress this week released "The Vast Potential for Renewable Energy in the American West," an analysis projecting that the federal lands in New Mexico could house clean energy projects with the potential to harness more than 1.2 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal energy over the next two decades, enough electricity to power 200,000 homes. With supportive federal policies to realize this goal, such a development in New Mexico could stimulate more than $4.8 billion in investment in the renewable energy sector, creating more than 7,027 direct jobs in the state.

"America's western public lands can help cleanly power the nation in the 21st century," said John Podesta, chair and counselor of the Center of American Progress. "Our analysis determined that with policies that encourage investment in wind, solar, and geothermal energy, the west can become the hub of our clean energy economy."

In this CAP report, authors Jessica Goad, Daniel J. Weiss and Richard W. Caperton assessed the federal government's "reasonably foreseeable development scenarios" for the likelihood of renewable energy development on public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. These analyses examine how much renewable energy on public lands could realistically be generated over 20 years and we find that more than 209,000 direct jobs could be created by building these 34.4 gigawatts.

To capture the full economic, energy, and public health benefits from this opportunity, the federal government should adopt four essential policies:

  • A national clean energy standard of 80 percent by 2035, with 35 percent for renewable electricity
  • A clean resources standard for electricity generated by resources on public lands and waters
  • Renewable energy zones
  • Comprehensive electricity transmission reforms to rehabilitate our aging system

Responsibly building clean energy projects on America's eligible public lands can help attract these investments, particularly in more rural areas that would benefit from the jobs and economic opportunity that the new projects can bring.

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