New Mexico Governor Richardson Announces New Plan for Green Economy

13 January of 2010 by

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today signed an executive orderoutlining the state’s plan for building a green economy. “Acomprehensive green economy is critical to the future of New Mexico andwill lead our state into a new era of economic vitality and stability,”Governor Richardson said at the signing, which was held at SCHOTTSolar’s Albuquerque manufacturing facility. “Today I am outlining aclear path to ensure our state capitalizes economically andenvironmentally on our abundant renewable resources and assets.”

The plan builds on recommendations from the Governor’s Green Jobs Cabinet, which identified five headline goals for the state to adopt in the near future:

  1. To become a leader in renewable energy export.
  2. To become the center of the North American solar industry. Thisincludes everything from research and development to manufacturing tothe installation of solar elements in our buildings.
  3. To lead the nation in Green Grid innovation.
  4. To continue being a leader in green building and energy efficiency.
  5. To have an educational system that prepares New Mexico students for jobs in green technologies.

Beyond the aspirational fluff, Richardson’s order outlines specificdirectives to encourage in-state manufacture of renewable energyequipment, create jobs and promote the adoption of solar and otherforms of clean power. The Governor also announced the release of theNew Mexico Green Jobs Guidebook, which provides an overview ofgreen-related occupations and their educational requirements, as wellas resources to help job seekers research opportunities at New Mexicocolleges and universities. The guidebook is made available by the New Mexico Economic Development Department.

With so many states trying to solve their unemployment woes throughthe promotion of green jobs and green manufacturing, one might wonderhow things will all shake out. Presumably, not ALL states will be netwinners in terms of attracting new investment in clean energy andrelated industries. Case in point: a new report on Pennsylvania that finds the state’s use of tax incentives in attracting tech firms yields “marginal gains, at best.”

The Obama administration’s announcement on Friday of an additional$2.3 billion in clean-energy tax credits for manufacturers willcertainly help. But, as this apt post from Keith Johnsonof WSJ’s Environmental Capital points out, the relationship betweeninvestment in manufacturing and net job creation is, well,underwhelming. Johnson points out, for instance, that the added $2.3billion in tax breaks is expected to yield 17,000 green jobs — that is,the creation of one job will “cost” in the neighborhood of $135,000.Perhaps this is the price we must pay to (1) put people back to work,and (2) restructure the U.S. economy for the future. Only time willtell.

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