FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: June 14, 2023
Joey Keefe, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
Commissioner Garcia Richard Awards Lease for Solar Array in Doña Ana County
Project quadruples renewable capacity on state lands
SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard today awarded a lease to Revolve Afton Solar LLC to construct a solar array on state land in Doña Ana County, quadrupling the renewable energy capacity on state lands since 2019. Revolve Afton Solar LLC met all requirements for the lease and submitted the highest and best bid, which was unsealed at a public auction at the State Land Office this morning. The project is expected to produce approximately 125 megawatts of solar power which is enough to power roughly 20,500 homes. The project is expected to earn approximately $28 million for New Mexico public schools.
“Our efforts to diversify revenue streams for New Mexico’s schools and other institutions are showing real results. We have now quadrupled the amount of renewable energy under lease with the State Land Office in just four years,” said Commissioner Garcia Richard. “It’s my job to earn as much money as possible for New Mexico’s school kids, and expanding the renewable energy footprint on state lands is a great way to provide a new, steady and sustainable source of revenue from a rapidly growing industry. This project is another example of our efforts to harness the incredible sun and wind resources available to us in New Mexico through both large- and small-scale renewable energy projects.”
The solar project will also help New Mexico move closer to the goals set by the Energy Transition Act, which calls on the state to derive 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045.
Commissioner Garcia Richard created the first-ever Office of Renewable Energy within the Commercial Division at the State Land Office. From January 2019 through September 2022, annual revenue from renewable leases on state trust land increased 1,400% and the number of active leases increased 208%. In the 2023 legislative session, the State Land Office supported House Bill 95 – legislation sponsored by Reps. Tara Lujan and Debra Sariñana at the request of Commissioner Garcia Richard to codify the Office of Renewable Energy in statute – was signed into law during the 2023 legislative session, ensuring that all future commissioners of public maintain the office and its contributions to beneficiaries of state lands.
“We know that oil and gas are finite resources and we need to use all the tools available to us to fund our schools and other beneficiaries well into the future,” added Commissioner Garcia Richard. “Renewable energy development is one option that presents incredible potential for growth in the coming decades.”
Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised about $7.5 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.