By MICK RICH
Republican Candidate for US Senate
I strongly advocate a full spectrum energy policy for New Mexico, tapping all our natural and intellectual resources. Here’s why.
New Mexico has abundant energy: New Mexico is the seventh-largest supplier of energy to America. Our oil production grew 17 percent in 2016 alone, making New Mexico America’s third-largest oil producer. We provide four percent our nation’s natural gas, and two percent of its coal. Although we have no nuclear power plants, we have the second-largest uranium reserves in the nation.
New Mexico produces more energy than we use: Not only does this make us energy self-sufficient, it enables us to reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy sources – which increases our national security.
New Mexico’s energy spectrum fills the full rainbow: In addition to oil, gas and coal, our substantial renewable energy sources include wind, solar (15th among U.S. states in installed capacity), hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal (sixth among U.S. states). Already, wind supplies 11 percent and solar provides three percent of our state’s electricity. All of our state’s planned new electricity generating capacity will use renewable energy or natural gas.
New Mexico sits in the middle of energy highways: As a supplier of electricity to neighboring states, New Mexico has a prime location at the edge of the three U.S. electrical grids — the Eastern, Western and Texas Interconnections — and of the Four Corners power trading hub. We are also home to a major portion of the SunZia Project, a 515-mile electrical transmission corridor expected to be in service by 2020.
New Mexico’s energy is spread throughout the state: People tend to think first of our fossil fuel reserves in the southeast and northwest regions of our state. But our largest wind energy potential is in the eastern half of the state; our geothermal resources are located in the southwestern and north-central parts of the state; and our solar potential is mostly in the southern half of the state. This means energy jobs exist in almost every county.
New Mexico’s energy is poised for the future: New Mexicans are fueling the future of America’s energy resources with our brainpower. Los Alamos National Laboratory conducts research on fuel cells, superconductors, carbon dioxide capture and storage, smart grid technology, solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Sandia National Laboratory is researching advanced plasma science, fusion science, and fusion technology.
Energy creates good-paying jobs: All energy jobs pay more than New Mexico’s average wage – enough to support a family on a single income. Many of these jobs do not require a college degree. With our unemployment rate still near the worst in the nation, we cannot ignore this vital source of jobs.
Energy = education funding: Oil and gas royalties make up 15 percent of New Mexico’s state revenues. Without them, we would have almost no money to pay for our K-12 teachers and schools, which is the single biggest expense in our state budget.
New Mexico is so rich in so many forms of energy, it would be negligent not to develop all of them. Unlike my opponent, I do not believe our environment will suffer because of energy production, and I do not believe the federal or state government should favor any one of these energy sources over another.
We need a U.S. Senator who will work as a partner with the energy sector to help grow our economy and our energy independence. I will be that Senator.