SANTA FE – The State Land Office has hired two new staff within the first ever Office of Renewable Energy. Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard requested and received funding during the 2019 Legislative Session to create the Office of Renewable Energy in order to help the Land Office reach a goal of tripling the generation of renewable energy on state trust land.
There are currently 17 active renewable energy leases on state trust lands with over 30 pending applications for new solar and wind energy projects. Director Jeremy Lewis and Analyst Kelly Haug are tasked with managing existing projects, aggressively pursuing new opportunities, and stewarding relationships between the renewable energy industry and the State Land Office.
Jeremy Lewis comes to the Land Office from the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Energy Conservation and Management Division, where he served as the Chief of the Energy Planning and Program Bureau.
“My long term goal for the Land Office is for renewables to play a significant role among our diverse energy offerings in New Mexico. To start, this means tripling wind and solar power generation and revenues on state trust lands,” Director Lewis said. “It is exciting that we are already on track to hit this goal, so essentially the sky is the limit when looking at all of the remaining land that is prime for wind and solar leases.”
Kelly Haug, a former Senior Land Negotiator for Enchantment Energy Inc., will assist in the analysis and execution of wind and solar leases.
“As part of the first Office of Renewable Energy, we have the opportunity to dedicate ourselves to maximize New Mexico’s abundance of natural resources,” Haug said of her new position. “I am very fortunate to be a part of this new office and pave the way for how New Mexico State Land Office shapes the renewable energy division. I am excited at the opportunity to be on this team and provide New Mexico with clean energy.”
Wednesday, Sept. 11, Commissioner Garcia Richard signed a lease awarding close to 7,000 acres of state trust land in Torrance County to Pacific Wind Development, LLC. The energy generated from the project can power an estimated 5,651 homes for an entire year.
“This addition to the La Joya Wind Farm will help us reach our goal of tripling the amount of renewable energy generated on state trust land,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “This lease will benefit New Mexico public schools to the tune of over $8 million during the life of the lease. The State Land Office is grateful to Jeremy and Kelly for joining us on a journey to help New Mexico actualize its renewable energy future. These projects are vital to helping us diversify the money that we raise to fund our public schools, universities, and hospitals.”