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‘Renewable’ geothermal energy boosted by bill passed by New Mexico House

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‘Renewable’ geothermal energy boosted by bill passed by New Mexico House


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Geothermal energy would be incentivized using state money by a New Mexico House bill that passed the full chamber this week, and moved on to the Senate for further consideration in the final week of the 2024 Legislative Session.

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House Bill 91 would send $25 million from the State’s General Fund to two newly-created funds to finance geothermal projects.

Geothermal energy uses heat pulled from underground to the surface, generating electricity and viewed as a renewable energy and alternative to fossil fuels.

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The first fund created by the bill would be a non-reverting Geothermal Projects Development Fund that would be administered by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, appropriated by the Legislature.

It would be able to offer up to $250,000 grants for studies of proposed geothermal projects, and grants for financing such projects.

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Recipients must be political subdivisions of the state, like municipalities or counties, along with state universities, indigenous tribes or pueblos.

More: Short term state revenue loss for Hobbs passes committee, bills for Carlsbad stalled

The other fund created by the will would be the Geothermal Projects Revolving Loan Fund, also administered by EMNRD to provide loans to the same groups as the grant fund for financing the projects.

Another $600,000 would be appropriated for added staff and operating expenses at EMNRD to aid in carrying out the bill’s provisions. Any funds left from that provision would revert back to the General Fund in Fiscal Year 2025.

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The bill passed the House on a bipartisan 60-5 vote and was sent to the Senate Finance Committee for further discussion and action. The bill must pass both chambers before they can be signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

More: ‘Fundamental disagreement’ puts GOP and ‘bureaucrats’ in Santa Fe at odds for conservation

Before the full House vote, HB 91 passed unanimously from the House Energy and Natural Resources and House Administration and Finance committees.

The session ends Feb. 16, about 10 days after HB 91 passed on the House Floor.

In its analysis of the bill EMNRD, the agency argued the “non-recurring” appropriation to pay for staff for carrying out the bill was inadequate to create a long-term regulatory environment for the growing geothermal industry in New Mexico.

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More: Gov. Lujan Grisham wants New Mexico to spend big. Should oil and gas foot the bill?

The agency said it would aim to hire three full-time employees with a total annual salary of $325,000, if the $600,000 was added to its recurring base budget.

Language in the bill also called on EMNRD’s Energy Conservation and Management Division (ECMD) to apply for federal grants for geothermal projects, but the department’s analysis contended those grants usually go to universities, not state agencies.

“While the division may be able to assist those institutions and organizations with grant proposals, the chance that the division would be eligible for federal funding under existing programs could be limited,” read the report.

More: Will ‘environmental rights’ slow renewable energy? Democrats say no, reintroduce bill

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EMRND also voiced concerns about the $250,000 grant cap, offering a $10 million cap would be more helpful to projects exploring for geothermal resources underground, developments EMNRD argued could exceed “seven figures.”

“The grant cap amount is a very low incentive for high temperature geothermal projects where one exploration or temperature gradient well can exceed seven figures,” read the report. “Only actual exploration will provide the data needed to measure future development.”

What is geothermal energy? Where does it come from in New Mexico?

A geothermal project, as defined in HB 91 is one that used the heat of the earth more than 100 degrees farenheit to generate electricity for industrial, commercial or residential purposes.

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Sponsor Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-13) of Albuquerque said geothermal energy is already produced in New Mexico, and the bill would help the state bolster what she called “clean energy” from this source.

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“Geothermal is now a reliable renewable energy option for many homes and businesses in New Mexico,” Roybal Caballero said. “This bill would allow us to take advantage of our unique geology to help make geothermal energy more available statewide, while supporting our clean energy and climate goals.”

Last year’s version of the legislation House Bill 365 passed both the House and Senate during the 2023 Legislative Session, but was pocket vetoed after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took no action to sign it into law ahead of the deadline.

More: Do New Mexicans want solar? Lawmakers want to bet $110 million on local energy demand

During the Jan. 23 meeting of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which ultimately granted the bill a “do pass” recommendation, Roybal Caballero who also sponsored last year’s geothermal bill said it enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle.

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She said she expected such support this year.

“We’re attempting to open opportunity and access as much as we can in the renewable energy world,” Roybal Caballero said.  

Thomas Solomon, a retired electrical engineer and member of the New Mexico Geothermal Working Group, served as an expert during the meeting, explaining New Mexico’s strong geothermal resources were around the Rio Grande Rift.

He said the rift gradually pulled the earth apart over time, bringing more the subsurface to the surface.

“Meaning the drilling cost to access those geothermal resources is lower here in New Mexico because you don’t have to drill so deep,” Soloman said. “That’s what makes geothermal resource potential in this state so attractive.”

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Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, achedden@currentargus.com or @AdrianHedden on the social media platform X.





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New Mexico

New Mexico basketball team takes down No. 22 Colorado State in final seconds

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New Mexico basketball team takes down No. 22 Colorado State in final seconds


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An absolute classic in the Mountain West.

The Colorado State men’s basketball team had a chance to steal a massive road victory at The Pit Tuesday night but New Mexico snatched a 68-66 win in the final seconds.

An absolutely mad final few minutes saw the teams trade blow after blow.

A Patrick Cartier 3-pointer with 43 seconds put CSU up 62-61 for its first lead of the half. New Mexico and CSU then traded buckets at a rapid pace.

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Isaiah Stevens hit two free throws with 7.3 seconds left to make it 66-65 CSU, but Donovan Dent quickly raced through CSU’s defense and scored an And-1.

CSU advanced the ball for an out-of-bounds play with 2.8 seconds left but Nique Clifford’s contested shot missed and the Lobos sealed the win.

Dent had 16 points (12 of them in the second half for the Lobos).

Stevens had 20 points and nine assists for CSU. Joel Scott had 18 points and 13 rebounds.

CSU plays at UNLV at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24.

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Check back to Coloradoan.com/sports on this game.

Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle on X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram @Kevin_Lytle.





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New Mexico

How to Stream the Colorado State vs. New Mexico Game Live – February 21

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How to Stream the Colorado State vs. New Mexico Game Live – February 21


MWC foes face one another when the New Mexico Lobos (20-6, 8-5 MWC) welcome in the No. 22 Colorado State Rams (20-6, 8-5 MWC) at The Pit, tipping off at 10:00 PM ET on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

Watch college basketball, other live sports and more on Fubo! Use our link to sign up for a free trial.

Colorado State vs. New Mexico Game Info

  • When: Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 10:00 PM ET
  • Where: The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • TV: CBS Sports Network
  • Live Stream: Watch this game on Fubo

Get tickets for any college basketball game this season at Ticketmaster!

Colorado State Stats Insights

  • The Rams have shot at a 49.8% rate from the field this season, 6.9 percentage points above the 42.9% shooting opponents of the Lobos have averaged.
  • The Lobos are the rebounding team in the country, the Rams rank 345th.
  • The Rams’ 77.9 points per game are 6.9 more points than the 71 the Lobos allow to opponents.
  • When it scores more than 71 points, Colorado State is 18-2.

Catch college basketball action all season long on Fubo!

Colorado State Home & Away Comparison

  • At home Colorado State is putting up 81.9 points per game, 12.3 more than it is averaging on the road (69.6).
  • The Rams give up 66.7 points per game at home, and 70.1 away.
  • Beyond the arc, Colorado State knocks down fewer triples on the road (7.6 per game) than at home (8.1), and makes a lower percentage away (33.3%) than at home (37.2%) as well.

Rep your team with officially licensed college basketball gear! Head to Fanatics to find jerseys, shirts, and much more.

Colorado State Upcoming Schedule

Date Opponent Score Arena
2/9/2024 San Jose State W 66-47 Moby Arena
2/13/2024 @ San Diego State L 71-55 Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl
2/17/2024 Utah State W 75-55 Moby Arena
2/21/2024 @ New Mexico The Pit
2/24/2024 @ UNLV Thomas & Mack Center
2/27/2024 Nevada Moby Arena

© 2023 Data Skrive. All rights reserved.

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New Mexico

Kira Miner: Windy Wednesday ahead

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Kira Miner: Windy Wednesday ahead


We won’t see much in terms of precipitation Wednesday but it will be windy. See the latest conditions at KOB.com/Weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — We won’t see much precipitation Wednesday but we will see windy and warm weather, especially in central and eastern New Mexico.

That is where a red flag warning is posted from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. We’ll see west/southwest winds between 25-35 mph, possibly gusting to 55 mph in some places, with 6-15% relative humidity.

Temperatures will mostly be in the mid-60s through the low-80s.

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If there is any precipitation likely, it will be in the Four Corners.

Meteorologist Kira Miner explains in her full forecast in the video above.

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