LC Bulletin: Why clean energy?

January 28, 2011. Retrieved online February 1, 2011 from Gabriel Vasquez, Las Cruces Bulletin

On Tuesday, Jan. 25, President Obama outlined his vision for rebuilding the nation’s economy in his widely seen, heard and disseminated State of the Union Address.

Among his efforts to put Americans back to work and inspire domestic innovation, he mentioned a key initiative that could greatly benefit our state and region’s economy.

I’m talking about the development of clean energy technologies and the president’s intent to pursue those efforts aggressively. He envisioned that by 2035, the United States would produce 80 percent of its domestic energy from renewable sources.

New Mexico – specifically southern New Mexico – has been identified in dozens of public and private studies as a “hotbed” for alternative energy, most notably using the sun and wind.

Take into account the several projects, programs and conditions that make Las Cruces and the surrounding area a prime beneficiary of clean energy development now and in the future:

Sapphire Energy

This California-based algal biofuel company, backed by Bill Gates, has a research and development facility in the West Mesa Industrial Park and plans to build a refinery to process biofuel in Luna County.

SunZia project

A collaborative public and private effort that seeks to install 460 new miles of transmission lines and substations that will connect and deliver renewable energy resources in the state will help meet the nation’s demand for clean energy.

Commercial-scale solar

Already, four leading solar energy companies have entered into agreements with private and public entities to build commercial-scale solar facilities in Doña Ana County.

NMSU biofuel research

The federal government has contracted with New Mexico State University to research the use of algal biofuels in jet engines, a leading research initiative for the university in 2011.

Re-Energize America

This annual conference hosted by NMSU brings together the top leaders in the nation’s
clean energy industry to discuss ways and collaborate to develop new clean energy projects in New Mexico and the Southwest. The conference’s 2009 keynote speaker was Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Small business growth

Companies such as Sunspot Solar Energy Systems, Positive Energy and Sun-Tech Services have grown notably during the past two years and are helping homeowners reduce the cost of electricity use.

Jobs

Doña Ana Community College is developing curriculum to train a new workforce in alternative energy to serve the local market.

There you have it, just a few of the conditions making it ripe for Las Cruces to capitalize on the president’s vision of developing a robust clean energy industry.

Read the Las Cruces Bulletin article.


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