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The Albuquerque Journal: Geothermal Advancements, Incentives Could Help NM Meet Renewable Energy Goals

Posted by Megan Gleason on Mar 26, 2024

The Albuquerque Journal reports on advancements in geothermal. The article quotes United's Michael Barrio on what a successful energy transition looks like and how the passage of geothermal legislation will help the state in its renewable energy transition. 

About 75 years ago in Animas, irrigators were drilling wells when they stumbled upon extremely hot water naturally bubbling up out of the ground. Little did they know, they had tapped into geothermal energy resources. The spot would later become the location of the Lightning Dock geothermal power plant — New Mexico’s first utility-scale geothermal power plant.

Some energy experts are now labeling geothermal energy as a solution to fulfilling New Mexico’s rapidly approaching renewable energy transition.

And with new financial incentives elected officials passed through the 2024 Legislature, they believe the state is building up momentum to generate large-scale electricity from the Earth’s natural heat before the end of the decade.

Michael Barrio is the senior principal at Advanced Energy United, a national trade organization focused on energy technology. He said New Mexico needs to look at all of the options that’ll help diversify its energy portfolio.

The oil and gas industry currently provides a bulk of the state’s general fund revenue, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration has announced intentions to move away from the heavy dependence on fossil fuels.

“If we want to think about what a successful energy transition looks like, it means taking a really good look at all of the available technology that we have and how we can best put that to use in our state,” Barrio said.

Barrio, of Advanced Energy, said lowering the initial capital costs for geothermal projects, as the new financial incentives help do, will make New Mexico appealing to investors and catalyze economic growth. On top of that, he said, the state already has an oil and gas workforce that can transfer its skills to the renewable energy sector.

“The state’s commitment to renewable energy development … signals to investors and entrepreneurs that the state is really a prime location for renewable energy projects,” he said. “And that always can attract more investment, drive economic growth and innovation in the state’s renewable energy sector.”

Barrio said using renewable energies like geothermal is kind of like the new frontier. He said it’s clear that clean energy is the future. Finite resources like fossil fuels won’t last forever, he said, and some have described geothermal as virtually unlimited.

“So how do we plan for the future that we want to see? How do we plan for the economy that we want to see?” Barrio said. “And that’s by being part of this energy revolution. Now is the time.”

Read the full article here.

Topics: United In The News, New Mexico, Michael Barrio