Proposed bills aim to boost geothermal energy in New Mexico, United States

Santa Fe National Forest, NM (Credit: Flickr, CC, By: Artotem)

New Mexico senators have proposed a number of financial incentives to accelerate geothermal development in the state.

Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino and William Soules are sponsoring a series of bills aimed at accelerating the development of the geothermal energy industry in the state of New Mexico in the United States. These proposals were the result of a working group formed in early 2022 by both senators, along with experts from New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University, Sandia National Laboratories and other environmental groups.

The most important proposal is the new Geothermal Resources Development Law sponsored by Sen. Ortiz y Pino. The bill would see the state allocate $25 million in grants and loans for research and development of geothermal projects across the state. The bill also provides annual funding of $600,000 for the Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources and an additional $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, would provide incentives of up to $10 million in tax breaks for geothermal projects.

Sen. Soules is sponsoring a separate bill that aims to provide up to $16 million in tax credits for geothermal infrastructure at homes, businesses, or farms through 2033. Each taxpayer is entitled to up to $9000 to invest in geothermal heat pump systems. The bill also provides that the taxpayer can receive a refund if the credit exceeds the amount owed for the geothermal project.

“This is an energy source that delivers zero emissions. No gases are released… That way, we think, could potentially provide the last 10 percent of clean energy that, coupled 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 Committee on Economic Development and Policy.

New Mexico is already home to a number of geothermal plants concentrated in the southwest corner. These include a geothermally heated greenhouse complex, an aquaculture farm and hot springs used for tourism. This area is also home to Cyrq Energy’s 15 MW Lightning Dock geothermal power plant, which was repowered in 2020.

Source: Albuquerque Journal and The Deming Headlight