On August 23, AEE and regional partner Interwest Energy Alliance held candidate roundtables in New Mexico with Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and staff of Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce. The businesses participating in the roundtable represented a diverse set of advanced energy technologies, including solar, wind, and storage. The group shared its vision to make New Mexico a more competitive and attractive state for advanced energy businesses.
The advanced energy industry now employs more than 11,700 people across New Mexico, more jobs than in agriculture or call centers in the state. However, much more can be done to strengthen this sector of the economy. Industry growth is currently outpacing available workers. A majority of employers suggest it is very or somewhat difficult to find qualified candidates for advanced energy jobs. Strengthening policies in support of advanced energy can help New Mexico address this gap and realize its full potential.
The state has some of the best renewable energy resources in the country and has an opportunity to join with broader markets to manage energy supply on a wider scale. AEE and Interwest believe a governor well-versed in the benefits of advanced energy will be able to seize the economic and consumer benefits of a 21st century electricity system for New Mexico.
Roundtable participants reviewed policy priorities to address barriers to clean energy growth, including the need to update regulatory structures to take advantage of emerging technologies. The group also expressed support for establishing a community solar program in the state, improving transmission capacity, and attracting investments in energy storage.
To both campaigns, AEE and Interwest pledged to continue to serve as resources for policy ideas to help the next administration create jobs and move New Mexico forward.