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House Committee Discusses Natural Gas To Supplement Renewable Resources

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The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resource Committee met on the morning of January 24th to discuss house bill 96.

House Bill 96 is entitled, Combined Cycle Natural Gas as Renewable, and was introduced by Representative James G. Townsend of District 54.

According to House Bill 96, the bill is defined as “an act relating to renewable energy; amending the Rural Electric Cooperative Act and the Renewable Energy Act to include natural gas using combined cycle technology in the definition of ‘renewable energy resource.’”

The passing of this bill would allow Combined Cycle Natural Gas to be listed with renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro electricity.

This would allow power providers to invest in these electricity plants.

A Combined Cycle Natural Gas facility produces electricity by burning the gas to spin a turbine that produces electricity and then also capturing the heat from that combustion to generate more electricity.

This makes it more efficient than a traditional Natural Gas power facility.

Representative Townsend had this to say of the bill in his opening statement.

“To try to fix a problem that has been identified by power providers in New Mexico especially in the Albuquerque area brownouts, blackouts. Let me first say that I understand, as I’m sure many of you do, that natural gas is not a renewable.”

Townsend makes the case for supplementing with Natural Gas as it is readily available in New Mexico and that renewable sources cannot always provide dispatchable power.

Townsend says investing in commercial energy storage systems would be more costly than the Combined Cycle Natural Gas Facilities.

Vice Chair Representative Debra M. Sariñana of District 21, had this to say.

“Energy storage globally is a 211 billion dollar industry right now and they predict by 2030 that it will be a 436 billion dollar industry. So energy storage is here and we are going to bring it to New Mexico very soon.”

The House Committee voted to table House Bill 96 with a result of 7 – 4.

Baxter is completing an internship at KSFR to for his B.A. in Journalism with an Anthropology minor from the University of Maine. He also Holds an A.A. From Bard College at Simon's Rock.