Proposed bills seek to spur geothermal in New Mexico, U.S.
New Mexico senators have proposed a series of financial incentives to help accelerate geothermal development in the state.
Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino and William Soules are sponsoring a series of bills that aim to accelerate the development of the geothermal industry in the state of New Mexico in the U.S. These proposals have been the outcome of a working group formed in early 2022 where both senators participated along with experts from New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and other environmental groups.
The major proposal is the new Geothermal Resources Development Act sponsored by Sen. Ortiz y Pino. Under the bill, the state will provide USD 25 million for grants and loans to research and development geothermal projects around the state. The bill will also authorize an annual funding of $600,000 for the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department and another $500,000 for a new “Center of Excellence” at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
A second bill also sponsored by Sen. Ortiz y Pino seeks to provide incentives of up to USD 10 million in tax breaks for geothermal projects.
Sen. Soules is sponsoring a separate bill that seeks to provide up to USD 16 million in tax credits for geothermal infrastructure in homes, businesses, or agricultural facilities until 2033. Each taxpayer will be eligible to up to USD 9000 to invest on geothermal heat pump systems. The draft bill also states that the taxpayer can receive a refund if the credit were to exceed what is owed for the geothermal project.
“This is a source of energy that provides zero emissions. There is no release of gasses … This is a way we think that potentially the last 10 percent of clean energy could be available which, when united with solar and wind power, would make New Mexico truly sustainable in terms of economic development,” said Sen. Ortiz y Pino during a meeting with the interim Economic Development and Policy Committee.
New Mexico already hosts a number of geothermal facilities concentrated in the southwest corner. These include a geothermal heated greenhouse complex, aquaculture farm, and hot springs used for tourism. Also in this area is the 15-MW Lightning Dock geothermal power plant by Cyrq Energy which had been repowered in 2020.