NM to Consider Two Energy-Saving Bills in 2014 Session

SANTA FE, NM—Two proposed state legislative bills that provide income tax credits for energy efficiency— one promoting the purchase of electric vehicles and charging stations, the other supporting home energy and water efficiency upgrades—were introduced into the New Mexico legislature for consideration during the short 2014 session.

HB 136, Electric Vehicle and Charging Station Income Tax Credit

HB 136, sponsored by Representative Jim Trujillo, provides an income tax credit of $2,500 for the purchase or lease of an electric vehicle and a tax credit in the amount of 30% of the costs associated with charging unit installation. The tax credit for charging unit installation is capped at $3,000 for a conventional and $5,000 for a solar-powered unit.

Advocates said the legislation would stimulate the adoption in New Mexico of advanced, clean and costsaving transportation technology.

“This proposed legislation encourages market growth for electric vehicles in New Mexico and helps to boost the availability of charging stations in New Mexico, which lags its neighbors in terms of numbers of stations,” said Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).

Fiebelkorn pointed to a SWEEP study, Air Quality and Economic Benefits of Electric Vehicles in New Mexico, that calculated electric vehicles would reduce air pollution, save drivers money and help revitalize the state’s economy.

“Getting more electric vehicles on the road would be great for the economy and quality of life in New Mexico,” said SWEEP Transportation Director Will Toor. “Each fully electric vehicle contributes up to 99% fewer carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound emissions into New Mexico’s air, and could save each driver more than a thousand dollars a year in fuel costs.”

Toor noted that, in order to realize the benefits of electric vehicles, the state must do more support the electric vehicle market. Other nearby states like Colorado and Utah are already doing so, and this bill offers an opportunity for New Mexico to move forward, he said.

HB 124, Home Energy and Water Efficiency Income Tax Credit

HB 124, sponsored by Representative Carl Trujillo, provides a one-time income tax credit for energy efficiency improvements made to existing homes. The credit is tiered, ranging from $800 for upgrades that improve efficiency by 10%-20% up to $2,500 for efficiency improvements of 50% or more. Improvements must be certified by an energy auditor.

“New Mexico has offered a successful Sustainable Building Tax Credit to support the construction of new homes that are built to high energy efficiency standards. This bill offers a similar incentive to support energy efficiency improvements to existing homes,” said Representative Trujillo.

Amanda Evans, director of the Energy$mart Academy at the NM Center for Excellence for Green Building and Energy Efficiency in Santa Fe Community College, said HB 124 would provide job opportunities for graduates of the academy’s energy auditor training programs.

The NM legislative session began on Monday, Jan. 21 and will last 30 days.

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