1. What are the top renewable gas options currently available in New Mexico?
a. Biomethane: Biomethane is produced through the natural decomposition of organic materials, such as agricultural waste, sewage sludge, and landfill gas. It can be used directly as a fuel for heating or transportation, or upgraded to natural gas quality and injected into existing natural gas pipelines.
b. Biodiesel: Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from vegetable oils or animal fats that can be used in diesel engines. It produces lower emissions than petro-diesel and can be easily integrated into existing fueling infrastructure.
c. Ethanol: Ethanol is a biofuel made from renewable sources such as corn, sugarcane, or switchgrass. It can be blended with gasoline to reduce emissions and extend the supply of petroleum-based fuels.
d. Solar Gas: Solar gas uses solar energy to generate electricity which is then used to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. The hydrogen can be stored and used as a clean-burning fuel source.
e. Wind Energy: Wind energy can be converted into both hydrogen and natural gas through electrolysis and power-to-gas technology respectively. These gases can then be used for heating, transportation or electricity generation.
f. Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy utilizes the heat from beneath the earth’s surface to produce electricity and heat buildings. This renewable source of energy has been used extensively in New Mexico since the 1960s.
g. Hydroelectricity: New Mexico has several hydropower facilities that harness the power of flowing water to produce electricity, making it a viable renewable energy option in the state.
h. Waste-to-Energy: Waste-to-energy technologies convert municipal solid waste into electricity or heat through combustion or anaerobic digestion processes, reducing landfill usage and greenhouse gas emissions while producing energy.
i. Fuel Cells: Fuel cells use hydrogen to generate electricity without combustion, producing only heat and water as byproducts. They have potential applications in stationary power generation, transportation and emergency backup power supply.
j. Blue Hydrogen: Blue hydrogen is produced using natural gas combined with carbon capture technology to reduce carbon emissions, making it a cleaner alternative to traditional hydrogen production methods. It can be used in the same ways as regular hydrogen.
k. Renewable Natural Gas (RNG): RNG, also known as biogas, is produced from landfills, wastewater treatment plants or anaerobic digesters. It has similar properties to natural gas and can be injected into existing pipeline infrastructure for use in heating and transportation.
2. How does New Mexico compare to other states in terms of utilizing renewable gas?
New Mexico ranks 25th in the nation for renewable gas production. Currently, the state generates less than 1% of its total energy from renewable gas sources, such as biogas from landfills and municipal wastewater treatment plants. This is significantly lower than other states like California and New York, which both have much higher percentages of renewable gas in their overall energy mix.
However, New Mexico has recently made efforts to increase the use of renewable gas through state policies and programs. In 2019, the state passed legislation (SB 489) that requires utilities to generate at least 5% of their electricity from renewable gas by 2021 and increases this requirement to 10% by 2040. Additionally, the state offers tax incentives for bioenergy development projects and has several programs in place to support the growth of renewable gas infrastructure.
Overall, while New Mexico’s utilization of renewable gas is currently low compared to other states, there are promising developments in place that could see it rise in the coming years.
3. What policies or initiatives has New Mexico implemented to promote renewable gas adoption?
1) The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): New Mexico has a mandatory RPS that requires utilities to obtain 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2045. This includes renewable gas as an eligible resource.
2) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant: New Mexico received federal funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including those related to biogas.
3) Tax Credits: New Mexico offers tax credits for the production and use of renewable gas. Incentives include a Production Tax Credit for facilities producing biogas from organic waste, as well as an Investment Tax Credit for businesses investing in facilities that produce or utilize biogas.
4) New Mexico Gas Company Net Metering Program: This program allows customers with qualifying systems, including renewable gas systems, to receive credit on their monthly utility bill for excess electricity generated and exported back to the grid.
5) Renewable Natural Gas Study: In 2020, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department released a comprehensive study on the potential for RNG production in the state. The study outlines the current market conditions, potential supply of biogas resources, and policy recommendations.
6) Grants and Funding Programs: The state provides grants and financial assistance under various programs like the Clean Energy Fund, Solar Market Development Tax Credit program, Biomass Utilization Grant Program, Agricultural Industry Development & Job Training program, etc., which can be used for the development of renewable gas projects.
7) Renewable Gas Infrastructure Development Grant Program: In addition to a statewide program that supports renewable energy infrastructure development, some cities in New Mexico have developed specific programs focused on promoting renewable gas infrastructure development. For example, Albuquerque’s “Renewable Gas Infrastructure Development Grant” program encourages utilization of RNG from landfills or wastewater treatment plants by providing funding for public transportation agencies to shift away from petroleum-based fuels through converting fleet vehicles or purchasing compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.
8) Net Energy Billing: Under this program, customers with wind or solar-powered systems can sell excess power back to the utility at the retail rate. While not specifically targeted towards renewable gas, this program provides an additional incentive for individuals and businesses to invest in renewable energy systems.
9) Renewable Gas Roadmap: The state’s Energy Transition Act also requires the Public Regulation Commission and the Energy Conservation and Management Division to jointly develop a “Renewable Gas Roadmap.” This roadmap will provide recommendations on how New Mexico can increase its utilization of renewable gas resources while taking into account potential environmental impacts and economic considerations.
10) Education and Outreach: New Mexico supports education and outreach initiatives aimed at promoting renewable energy, including renewable gas. For example, the state hosts an annual Renewable Energy Conference that includes workshops and presentations on RNG production and utilization, as well as other clean energy topics. Additionally, they offer educational resources for both consumers and businesses interested in learning more about renewable energy options.
4. Can consumers in New Mexico choose to receive renewable gas instead of traditional natural gas?
Yes, some natural gas utilities in New Mexico offer renewable gas options for consumers. For example, the utility company New Mexico Gas Company offers a “Green Gas” program where customers can choose to purchase a portion or all of their natural gas from renewable sources such as biogas and landfill gas. However, these programs may not be available in all areas and customers should check with their specific utility provider for more information.
5. What is the potential for renewable hydrogen production in New Mexico?
New Mexico has significant potential for renewable hydrogen production due to its abundance of renewable energy resources. The state receives ample sunshine, making it ideal for solar energy production. It also has strong wind resources, particularly in the eastern and western regions of the state. Additionally, New Mexico is home to geothermal resources and has significant potential for biomass production.
One key factor contributing to the potential for renewable hydrogen production in New Mexico is the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires utilities to obtain at least 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and 100% by 2045. This policy will likely drive increased investment in renewable energy infrastructure, providing a reliable source of clean electricity that can be used for hydrogen production.
Furthermore, New Mexico’s location and existing transportation infrastructure make it well-suited for exporting hydrogen to neighboring states such as California, which have ambitious goals for decarbonizing their economies. This could create a new market for renewable hydrogen produced in New Mexico.
Some specific projects and initiatives that are underway or planned in New Mexico include:
1. PNM Solar Hydrogen Demonstration Project: This project is a collaboration between electric utility PNM Resources Inc., Sandia National Laboratories, and Rooftop Solar aimed at studying the feasibility of using solar power to produce hydrogen onsite at commercial facilities.
2. Xcel Energy Wind-to-Hydrogen Pilot Program: This program plans to use excess wind energy generated by Xcel Energy’s wind farms in New Mexico to produce hydrogen through electrolysis.
3. Suntuity Hydrogen Production Facility: This facility plans to use solar power to produce low-cost green hydrogen on a commercial scale.
4. Prime Planet Energy & Solutions Hydrogen Fuel Cell Production Facility: Under development by two Japanese companies, this facility will produce fuel cells for use in fuel cell vehicles. These vehicles can be powered by renewable hydrogen produced locally.
These developments demonstrate that there is significant interest and investment in renewable hydrogen production in New Mexico, and the state has the potential to become a leader in this emerging industry.
6. Has there been any investment in biogas production facilities in New Mexico?
Yes, there have been several investments in biogas production facilities in New Mexico, particularly in the agricultural sector. For example, in 2017, a dairy farm in eastern New Mexico invested over $16 million to build a state-of-the-art anaerobic digester system that converts manure and other organic waste into biogas. The biogas is used to generate electricity for the farm and surrounding areas.
Additionally, several municipal wastewater treatment plants in New Mexico have implemented anaerobic digestion systems to produce biogas from sewage sludge. One example is the Southside Water Reclamation Facility in Albuquerque, which has been producing biogas since 2005.
Some private companies have also invested in biogas production facilities in New Mexico. In 2018, a renewable energy company announced plans to build a facility near Albuquerque that will use food waste and other organic materials to produce renewable natural gas (RNG).
Overall, while there are currently only a few large-scale biogas production facilities in New Mexico, the state has potential for further investment and development in this area due to its large agricultural sector and growing interest in renewable energy sources.
7. Are there any tax incentives or rebates available for using renewable gas in New Mexico?There are currently no specific tax incentives or rebates available for using renewable gas in New Mexico. However, the state offers a variety of other renewable energy tax incentives, including a 10% personal income tax credit for residential solar installations and a gross receipts tax deduction for commercial solar installations. Additionally, there may be federal tax incentives available for producers of renewable gas through the Renewable Fuel Standard Program implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency.
8. How is the development of landfill gas projects being encouraged in New Mexico?
The development of landfill gas projects is being encouraged in New Mexico through the following measures:
1. State Incentives: The state offers financial incentives, such as tax credits and grants, to encourage the development of renewable energy sources, including landfill gas. These incentives reduce project costs and make it more financially feasible for companies to invest in landfill gas projects.
2. Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): New Mexico has a mandatory RPS that requires utilities to generate a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, including landfill gas. This creates a demand for renewable energy and provides a market for landfill gas developers.
3. Net Metering: Landfill gas projects can take advantage of net metering policies in New Mexico, which allow individuals or businesses that generate their own electricity from renewable sources to sell excess power back to the grid at retail rates. This can provide an additional revenue stream for landfill gas projects.
4. Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit: The state also offers a production tax credit for electricity generated from various eligible renewable resources, including landfill gas. This credit helps offset project costs and makes it more attractive for investors.
5. Cooperation with Landfill Owners: The New Mexico Environment Department works closely with landfill owners to promote the development of landfill gas projects on their sites. This partnership enables efficient implementation and management of these projects.
6. Education and Outreach: The state conducts education and outreach initiatives to raise awareness about the benefits of landfill gas projects and provide technical assistance to potential developers.
7. Streamlined Permitting Process: The state has streamlined its regulatory process for permitting landfill gas projects, making it easier and faster for companies to obtain necessary approvals.
8. Collaboration with Federal Agencies: The state collaborates with federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) to support the development of landfill gas projects through funding opportunities, technical assistance, and other resources.
9. What steps is New Mexico taking to reduce carbon emissions through the use of renewable gases?
New Mexico is taking several steps to reduce carbon emissions through the use of renewable gases:
1. Promotion of Renewable Gas Production: The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) has established a Renewable Energy Program that promotes the production of renewable gases such as biogas, biomethane, and hydrogen. The program provides technical assistance, funding opportunities, and incentives for the development of renewable gas projects.
2. Renewable Portfolio Standard: In 2019, New Mexico passed the Energy Transition Act (ETA) which requires that utilities in the state generate 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 80% by 2040. This will lead to increased use of renewable gases for electricity generation.
3. Financial Incentives: New Mexico offers financial incentives such as tax credits and grants to encourage investment in renewable gas projects. The state also provides property tax exemptions for certain types of renewable energy facilities.
4. Net Metering: Net metering allows customers with solar panels or other renewable energy systems to sell any excess energy they produce back to the grid. This encourages individuals and businesses to invest in renewable energy technologies like biogas digesters.
5. Research and Development: The New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering has a dedicated Biorefinery Scale-Up Facility that conducts research on converting biomass into biofuels, including biogas production from agricultural waste.
6. Clean Transportation Initiative: The New Mexico Clean Transportation Plan aims to reduce emissions from the transportation sector by promoting the use of alternative fuels such as natural gas, biomethane, and hydrogen.
7. Climate Action Plan: The New Mexico Climate Strategy outlines actions to achieve carbon neutrality in the state by 2050, including decarbonizing buildings and vehicles through greater adoption of renewable gases.
8. Education and Outreach: The EMNRD also conducts education and outreach campaigns to raise awareness about the benefits of renewable gases and how they can contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
9. Collaboration with neighboring states: New Mexico is part of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a regional initiative that promotes energy efficiency and clean energy policies, including the use of renewable gases, in the southwestern United States. Collaborating with other states in the region can help to further reduce carbon emissions through the use of renewable gases.
10. Are biomass resources being utilized for renewable gas production in New Mexico?
Yes, New Mexico is utilizing biomass resources for renewable gas production. The state has several projects using biogas from landfills and wastewater treatment facilities to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) for use in transportation and energy generation. Additionally, there are plans for future biomass gasification projects in the state to convert woody biomass into renewable gas.
11. What plans does New Mexico have for expanding its use of renewable gases in transportation?
Currently, New Mexico does not have any specific plans for expanding its use of renewable gases in transportation. However, the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires that 20% of electricity sold by investor-owned utilities come from renewable sources by 2020, which could potentially provide opportunities for the production of renewable gases such as biomethane.
Additionally, the state has implemented several initiatives to support alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, including tax incentives for alternative fuel vehicles and grants for the development of alternative fueling stations. These initiatives could potentially also support the use of renewable gases in transportation as an alternative fuel source.
The New Mexico Department of Environment Quality is also currently developing a Volkswagen Settlement Plan, which includes potential funding opportunities for projects that promote vehicle electrification and emissions reductions. This plan will likely include measures to encourage the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, which could include those powered by renewable gases.
Overall, while there are no specific plans in place at this time, New Mexico’s goals and initiatives related to renewable energy and alternative fuels may provide opportunities for the expansion of renewable gases in transportation in the future.
12. Have there been any successful examples of community-scale renewable gas projects in New Mexico?
Yes, there have been several successful examples of community-scale renewable gas projects in New Mexico. These include:
1. Jemez Pueblo Biogas Project: The Jemez Pueblo Biogas Project is a community-based project that produces biogas from organic waste to power the tribal government building and other facilities. This project has helped reduce energy costs and landfill waste for the tribe.
2. Farmington Renewable Energy (FRE) Project: The FRE Project is a partnership between the City of Farmington, Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company, and Envision with the goal of developing renewable natural gas (RNG) from landfill gas. The RNG produced from this project is used as transportation fuel for buses and trucks in the area.
3. Village of Angel Fire Biomass to Gas Project: This project converts wood waste from local forestry operations into processed biomass for use in a renewable gas plant. This technology provides a clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels for heating and cooking in the Village of Angel Fire.
4. Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Trash to Gas (SCAT2Gas) Project: This project is located in Rio Rancho and uses an anaerobic digestion system to convert household, agricultural, and industrial waste into RNG that can be injected into existing natural gas pipelines.
5. Albuquerque BioPark Biogas Facility: The BioPark Biogas Facility utilizes animal manure from the zoo’s animals to produce RNG that will be used to generate electricity, steam, heat, and fertilizer products.
Overall, these projects demonstrate how communities in New Mexico are utilizing renewable gas as a sustainable and cost-effective energy source.
13. Is it possible for households and businesses to generate their own renewable gas in New Mexico?
Yes, it is possible for households and businesses to generate their own renewable gas in New Mexico. This can be done through various methods such as building and operating small-scale anaerobic digesters that convert organic waste into biogas (a type of renewable gas), installing solar panels that produce electricity to power electrolysis machines that split water molecules to produce hydrogen (another type of renewable gas), or using biofuel systems that convert biomass into liquid or gaseous fuels. These options may require some initial investment and infrastructure, but they can provide a more sustainable and cost-effective energy solution for individual households and businesses.
14. Is there an established market for buying and selling renewable gas credits in New Mexico? Currently, there is not an established market for buying and selling renewable gas credits in New Mexico. However, the state does have a Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit program which provides tax credits to renewable energy producers, including those producing renewable gas. Additionally, there are national markets for buying and selling renewable energy credits that New Mexico producers could potentially participate in.
15. How does the cost of using traditional natural gas compare to using 100% renewable gas options in New Mexico?
The cost of using traditional natural gas is typically lower than using 100% renewable gas options in New Mexico. This is because the infrastructure for traditional natural gas is well-established and abundant, resulting in lower production and distribution costs. In contrast, renewable gas options may require more investment in technology and infrastructure, leading to higher costs. However, the cost of renewable gas is expected to decrease as technology improves and production scales up, making it a more competitive option in the future. Additionally, the cost of traditional natural gas does not take into account external factors such as environmental damage and health impacts associated with its extraction and use. As these externalities are increasingly accounted for, the overall cost of traditional natural gas may become closer to that of renewable gas options.
16. Are there any efforts being made by utilities to transition towards more renewable gases in their supply mix?
Yes, there are several efforts being made by utilities to transition towards more renewable gases in their supply mix. This includes:
1. Increasing procurement of renewable natural gas (RNG): Some utilities are actively increasing their procurement of RNG, which is produced from organic waste and has a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional natural gas.
2. Implementing biogas projects: Utilities are working with partners to develop and implement biogas projects, which convert organic waste into methane gas that can be injected into the natural gas grid.
3. Exploring hydrogen as a fuel source: Many utilities are investing in research and development of hydrogen as a potential replacement for natural gas in their supply mix.
4. Offering green energy options: Some utilities offer customers the option to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) or participate in community solar programs, which allows them to support the development of renewable energy projects.
5. Investing in wind and solar power: Many utilities are investing in wind and solar power projects to increase the percentage of renewable electricity in their supply mix.
6. Collaborating with other stakeholders: Utilities are collaborating with other stakeholders such as regulators, policymakers, and environmental groups to develop plans and policies that promote the use of renewable gases.
Overall, there is a growing trend among utilities towards incorporating more renewable gases into their supply mix as a way to reduce carbon emissions and support sustainable energy sources.
17. Does the state government have a targeted goal or timeline for increasing the use of renewable gases statewide?
Yes, many states have set goals or timelines for increasing the use of renewable gases statewide. Each state’s specific goals and timelines may vary, but they are generally in line with broader national goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewable energy usage.
For example, California has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, with further reduction to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. As part of this overall goal, the state has also set specific targets for increasing the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) in the transportation sector, with a goal of reaching 90 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) per year by 2030.
New York has also set ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including a target to reduce overall emissions by 40% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of this effort, the state is investing in renewable resources like biogas and hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in heating and transportation.
Other states such as Washington, Minnesota, and Vermont have also set targets for increasing renewable natural gas production and usage as part of their broader clean energy goals. These goals may include increasing the proportion of RNG used in transmission pipelines or providing financial incentives for RNG production facilities.
Overall, many states recognize the potential for renewable gases to play an important role in transitioning to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future and have therefore incorporated targeted goals and timelines into their broader energy planning efforts.
18. Are there concerns about potential methane emissions from increased use of biogas or landfill gas projects in New Mexico?
Yes, there are concerns about potential methane emissions from increased use of biogas or landfill gas projects in New Mexico. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year time frame. The extraction and utilization of biogas and landfill gas can release significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere if not properly managed.
There are also concerns about the potential for leaks and accidents at these facilities, which could lead to a sudden release of methane. In addition, biogas and landfill gas infrastructure may require regular maintenance and monitoring to control methane emissions.
Furthermore, increasing the use of biogas or landfill gas may also encourage the continued production and disposal of organic waste, which can contribute to additional greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution.
To address these concerns, it is important for regulations to be in place that require proper management and monitoring of biogas and landfill gas projects. This should include measures such as regular maintenance inspections, leak detection systems, and proper disposal methods for excess gas. Education on best practices for reducing methane emissions should also be provided to farmers, landfills operators and other parties involved in biogas production.
19 .What role do renewables play, compared to other sources, when it comes to grid reliability and price stability?
The role of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, in grid reliability and price stability has been a topic of debate among energy experts. Some argue that renewables can play a significant role in improving both grid reliability and price stability, while others suggest that they can have negative impacts on these factors.
In terms of grid reliability, renewable energy sources are seen as less dependable compared to traditional sources like fossil fuels. This is because their generation is dependent on weather conditions and they are not able to generate electricity consistently. However, the development of advanced technologies such as smart grids and energy storage systems has helped to mitigate these challenges. These technologies allow for better integration of renewables into the grid system, providing a more stable supply of electricity.
Moreover, unlike fossil fuels which are finite resources with fluctuating prices, renewable energy sources have little or no fuel costs. This helps to provide more stable electricity prices over time. Additionally, the use of renewables can also reduce overall energy costs by decreasing the demand for expensive peak power plants during times of high electricity demand.
It should be noted that the extent to which renewables can impact grid reliability and price stability may vary depending on various factors such as location, type of renewable technology deployed, and overall system design. However, it is generally accepted that with proper planning and implementation, renewable energy can contribute positively to both grid reliability and price stability.
In conclusion, while there may be some concerns about the reliability and cost-effectiveness of renewable energy sources in certain contexts, evidence shows that they can play a significant role in enhancing grid reliability and promoting price stability when integrated efficiently into the overall energy system.
20. Does the public have access to information on how much renewable gas is currently being used in New Mexico?
Yes, the public can access information on how much renewable gas is being used in New Mexico through various sources such as the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Natural Gas Monthly report. This report includes data on total renewable natural gas production, consumption, and sales in the state of New Mexico. Additionally, energy companies and utilities may also provide information on their use of renewable gas through sustainability reports or press releases.