ARKANSAS, Oct 17 (Future Headlines)- Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino of New Mexico has announced plans to introduce legislation aimed at facilitating geothermal development in the state during the upcoming legislative session. This initiative follows the 2023 legislative session in which Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham vetoed the Geothermal Resources Development Act (House Bill 365), despite receiving strong support from both legislative chambers. The proposed legislation was vetoed due to concerns regarding the sustainability of certain tax cuts and financial incentives.

Senator Ortiz y Pino has revealed that preparations are underway for the introduction of geothermal legislation in two phases. This comprehensive approach aims to support and promote the growth of geothermal energy in New Mexico.

The initial phase focuses on providing grants and loans to existing businesses that intend to use or transition to geothermal energy sources. This phase is designed to kickstart the adoption of geothermal technology in the state.

The second phase shifts towards long-term development, with the goal of supplying 10% of New Mexico’s electricity from geothermal sources. This phase emphasizes sustainable growth and substantial contributions to the state’s energy mix.

The Senator’s efforts to promote geothermal energy development in New Mexico stem from the recognition that the state possesses the essential elements for successful geothermal projects. New Mexico boasts favorable conditions for geothermal energy production, which can significantly benefit its energy sector.

The impetus for the development of geothermal legislation in New Mexico began with the formation of a geothermal working group, which met with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The group includes individuals such as Tom Solomon of 350 New Mexico and other key stakeholders. The working group recognizes that the state has the geological features, workforce, and expertise required for successful geothermal projects.

Shari Kelly, a senior geophysicist and field geologist at the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, highlights that New Mexico has significant geothermal potential due to its geological characteristics. The state’s geology provides ideal conditions for harnessing geothermal energy.

While New Mexico possesses excellent geothermal resources, some of the most promising sites, such as the Valles Caldera National Preserve, remain off-limits for geothermal development. This presents a challenge in accessing certain high-quality resources. To maximize geothermal energy generation, alternative locations within the state need to be identified.

The most viable candidates for geothermal projects are expected to be situated within the Rio Grande Rift. This geological region features a relatively thin crust and rift-related faulting. These geological conditions create pathways for geothermal manifestations, such as hot springs and other geothermal resources.

Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino’s commitment to introducing geothermal legislation in New Mexico is driven by the state’s vast potential for geothermal energy development. The proposed two-phase approach is designed to promote geothermal adoption, support existing businesses, and pave the way for long-term sustainable growth. By tapping into New Mexico’s geological advantages and leveraging the expertise of the geothermal industry, this legislative initiative is poised to significantly contribute to the state’s energy landscape and broader sustainability goals.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White