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Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Analysis of Clean Energy Economy Shows NM Leads Rocky Mountain States in Growth of Green Energy Jobs

A new report by Headwaters Economics -- that's chock full of fascinating data about the clean energy economy -- shows that New Mexico has emerged as a clean energy leader, increasing its percentage of green jobs faster than other Rocky Mountain States. New Mexico’s combined strategy of targeted public policy and strong support for business has made it a regional and national competitive center of clean technology innovation, especially solar power, which is capturing energy-related jobs and attracting investment, according to the study.

NM Facts:

  • New Mexico’s green economy jobs grew by 62 percent between 1995 and 2007.

  • Southwestern New Mexico’s “Solar Valley” is one of the best places in the country for solar power generation. Eastern New Mexico is emerging as a center for wind power.

  • New Mexico policymakers, from Governor to county commissioner, have made succeeding in the clean energy economy a public priority.

  • The state’s strong policies and incentives, when combined with world-class research facilities such as Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, give it a winning advantage to attract jobs.

“New Mexico’s success shows the importance of both policy and political leadership at all levels of government, from county commissioner to United States Senator,” said Julia Haggerty Ph.D., the report’s author, in a statement released today. “The state’s aggressive outreach program, backed by strong incentives -- including property tax breaks, bonding, and worker training -- has attracted new businesses and jobs to the state.”

The Headwaters Economics study compares how New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming -- five states with vast traditional and clean energy resources -- are taking advantage of clean energy opportunities and concludes with five keys to success for the states to further benefit from the emerging green economy while measuring the likelihood that each state’s policies will promote future growth and investment.

Click for:

or visit headwaterseconomics.org/greeneconomy/ for all of the materials related to the study, including recommended additional reading.

Green Economy Jobs
Using a conservative measurement of green jobs, the report -- Clean Energy Leadership in the Rockies: Competitive Positioning in the Emerging Green Economy -- found that employment in the green economy has grown significantly faster than total employment. In New Mexico, for example, the number of overall jobs in 2007 was 13 percent greater than in 1995, compared to 62 percent growth in the green jobs sector. Looking at the five-state region, from 1995 to 2007 total job growth was 19 percent, while job growth in the core green economy was 30 percent. Nationwide, overall jobs grew by 10 percent, compared to green job growth of 18 percent from 1995 to 2007.

Looking at business establishments, in 2007 the five states supported 3,567 green enterprises with 50 percent based in Colorado, 16 percent in New Mexico and in Utah, 11 percent in Montana, and 6 percent in Wyoming.

“All of the states have opportunities to benefit from the green economy, but it does not happen by accident,” said Haggerty. “States performing the best -- such as New Mexico and Colorado -- have made a strong, deliberate, and lasting commitment to growing their green economy.”

Investment Dollars
The Clean Energy report also measures private and public investment for the five states. In 2008, the study region attracted more than $500 million dollars in clean energy-oriented venture capital, a ten-fold increase compared to 2000 levels. In New Mexico these investments totaled $239 million between 1999 and 2008, and the state ranked 12th nationally from 2006-2008, the latest three years available. When looking at public funding, Colorado ranked 15th among the 52 states and territories in receiving competitively awarded federal stimulus grants from the Department of Energy. Utah and New Mexico fell toward the middle of the pack, ranked 30th and 37th, while Wyoming and Montana ranked 49th and 52nd respectively.

Energy Production
Renewable energy production is growing in all five states, and there is every reason to expect continued rapid expansion. Among the five states, Montana and Wyoming stand out for their wind and geothermal potential, Utah for its solar and geothermal, and Colorado and New Mexico for strength in all three. From 1990 to 2007, New Mexico’s renewable energy production has grown by more than 200 percent, the highest rate of the five states.

Energy Efficiency
On a more cautionary note, the study found an uneven record for how the five states are pursuing energy efficiency -- a necessary, cost-effective part of any long-term economic strategy; though New Mexico has an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) aimed at utility companies.

Why New Mexico Leads
New Mexico policymakers have made succeeding in the clean energy economy a public priority. This leadership, when combined with strong policies, an attractive set of incentives and world-class research facilities such as Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, gives New Mexico a winning advantage to attract jobs.

The state has demonstrated a commitment to turning its advantages into entrepreneurial success, as with New Mexico 9000, an alliance of the New Mexico Economic Development Department and Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies. This coalition provides logistical and financial assistance for attaining ISO (International Organization for Standardization) compliance, which is key to selling products internationally.

Five Key Steps to Future Growth
States can do a great deal to benefit their future position, and the Clean Energy report concludes with five keys to success needed for the region and New Mexico to foster continued growth:

1) Strategic Pairing of Incentives with Clear Policy Goals. Progress depends on a smart mix of appropriate incentives and regulations, such as Renewable Portfolio Standards with meaningful targets and compliance strategies. New Mexico has strong clean energy and efficiency mandates. By comparison, Utah has failed to create certainty for the clean energy sector with its weak renewable mandate and fossil fuel-focused energy development incentives.

2) Encourage and Capture Large-Scale Investment. To attract growing private investment and billions of federal dollars, states must have a mix of policies, incentives and proven development expertise. New Mexico is a leader, ranking 12th in the nation for attracting clean technology venture capital from 2006 to 2008. Montana, in contrast, failed to capture any clean technology venture capital in the period 1999 to 2008.

3) Cultivate a Well-Resourced Business Environment. Companies on the cutting edge of technological development benefit from skilled workers and access to world class research institutions. New Mexico’s two national labs, combined with a growing high technology manufacturing base around Albuquerque, make this state a regional and national leader.

4) Leadership. Developers and manufacturers of clean energy and energy efficiency technologies operate in a highly competitive global environment, and they need to see consistent leadership in order to commit to a state. The governors of three states -- New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana -- all have made significant clean energy outreach efforts that have paid off with the successful recruitment of global corporations to each state and established their reputations as leaders, particularly for New Mexico and Colorado, within clean technology sectors.

5) Overcome Limited Infrastructure Capacity. To fully cultivate their renewable energy resources, the five states must overcome an inadequate infrastructure; which includes an outdated, overstressed electrical grid as well as federal, state, and local governments that currently lack the capacity and the necessary plans to respond to permits for new construction (for new facilities and transmission lines). New Mexico and Colorado were later (2007) to establish state infrastructure authorities. 

About Headwaters Economics
Headwaters Economics is an independent, nonprofit research group that assists the public and elected officials in making informed choices about energy development.

June 17, 2010 at 06:58 PM in Energy, Finance, Investments, Gov. Bill Richardson, Green Economy, Jobs, Public Policy | Permalink


Not that I can digest it all, I get the drift, and the information is clear and thorough. I am not surprised, with our progressive leadership. I also appreciate
the fact that you can measure the progress, and keep us informed, therefore engaged, in the process as we transition towards a clean energy economy. It helps our enthusiasm, Thank You !

Posted by: Anita Walsh | Jun 18, 2010 12:06:12 AM

This is very encouraging. In Arizona, solar energy seems to be viewed as some sort of communist plot. In Texas there is a mixed record. Austin is very progressive, dating back to the mid seventies when some key leaders were inspired by the oil and gas crisis of that time. New Mexico has a huge statewide potential and according to this report, this has been acted on by a progressive state leadership. This will benefit New Mexico enormously. Great to see this assessment.

Posted by: StuartH | Jun 18, 2010 8:16:12 AM

Imagine what Susana Martinez and other Republicans will do to this success if they win elections in the fall. They HATE renewable energy. Martinez got a huge portion of her primary cash from people connected to an oil company and then $450,000 from Swiftboater Bob Perry from Texas. If you want to kill future jobs vote for GOP candidates.

NM can become a major center of renewable energy research, manufacturing and transmission but not if a right winger runs the state.

Posted by: Keep NM Blue | Jun 18, 2010 8:49:28 AM

Absolutely Keep NM Blue.
Notice that Richardson does not share any credit for this with Denish when she needs recognition for forward thinking most. God forbid that a fellow Democrat steal his thunder. Even if he did cut these great deals, he should be using his success to promote Democrats and progressives in the state. That is the problem, he is all about trying to rehabilitate himself and the hell with Denish and the Democratic party in NM. This one man showmanship is craven and distasteful even if NM is desperate for the green development.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jun 18, 2010 5:55:00 PM

The lt. gov. isn't involved in this kind of project so why would he mention Denish? SHE needs to start speaking out boldly on environmental issues instead of saying the pit rule is responsible for drillers leaving the state. That has been proved wrong by the facts yet she keeps saying it.

Denish does need recognition for forward thinking but she has to establish that by taking public positions that show where she stands. If anything she and other Democrats like Jerry Ortiz y Pino have been first in line to criticize Richardson and run away from anything to do with him.

Richardson's environmental and energy efforts have made NM a star on the green jobs scene but I wonder if Denish would continue down this progressive path. She hasn't said.

Posted by: Greenie | Jun 19, 2010 11:13:11 AM

What is needed are energy systems that are inexpensive, clean, and self contained, do not rely on fossil fuels and can be developed and maintained locally. You think I am dreaming I can feel that in my bones! Yet over the past (give or take ) hundred years or so, scientists, inventors and various curious people, have developed ideas and innovations, that would help us move totally away from our reliance on the presently accepted norms of oil, coal and gas – aka ‘fossil fuels’. Consider the work of Nikola Telsa and Stanley Meyer for starters!

If our governments are sincere in their attempt to reduce carbon emissions, and also reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, then why have they hidden this information from us? It is known that they have had knowledge of most of these innovations and scientific discoveries for a very long time. How do you define ‘sincerity’? Or better still can you say ‘sincerity’ and ‘government’ in the one breathe? An oxymoron!


Posted by: justmeint | Jun 20, 2010 1:47:35 AM