New Mexico is blessed with plentiful natural resources making it a large net exporter of energy. Total energy generated within the state in 2014 was 2,515 trillion Btu. Mineral extraction has been the primary, sustained economic driver for the state for at least 150 years. The oil and gas sector alone returns more than $2 billion in taxes and other revenue to the state annually. Mining and related industries employ more than 28,000 statewide.
The San Juan Basin, located in northwest New Mexico and southwest Colorado, is the largest proven natural gas reserve in the country. This 26,000 square mile geologic feature is a major source of oil and gas, and it provides approximately 70% of the gas produced in New Mexico.
The Permian Basin covers southeastern New Mexico. It is estimated that only 27% of the available resource has been extracted from the Basin, and that there are 45 billion barrels of residual oil and 30 billion barrels of mobile oil available today.
Electricity from New Mexico is distributed to consumers in Texas, Arizona, California, and Utah. Prices within the state are extremely competitive.
New Mexico also produces more potash than any other state and is 2nd in copper production.
The Bravo Dome carbon dioxide gas field, located in Harding and Union Counties in northeast New Mexico, covers about 800,000 acres. It is estimated to contain more than 16 trillion cubic feet of carbon dioxide. The CO2 is used primarily for enhanced oil recovery.
New Mexico Energy Production in Numbers:
|Crude Oil||146,746 (thousand barrels)|
|Natural Gas||1,244,811 (million cubic feet)|
|Coal||19,676,277 (short tons)|
|Potash||1,433,245 (short tons)|
|Silver||56,983 (troy ounces)|
|Gold||20,438 (troy ounces)|
Sources: New Mexico State Energy Profile, U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department
New Mexico has tremendous potential for renewable energy production. In 2014, renewable energy supplied 9.3% of the total electricity generated. Currently, there are 811.5 megawatts (MW) of wind and 254.5 MW of solar operating in New Mexico. New Mexico has an aggressive renewable portfolio standard that requires investor owned utilities to generate a portion of their energy from renewable sources; 15% by 2015 and 20% by 2020. The state offers tax incentives to encourage the development of renewable energy projects.
On January 15, 2014 Governor Martinez and PNM celebrated the opening of Cyrq Energy’s Geothermal Plant. This is New Mexico’s first utility-scale geothermal facility, and is located in the southwest corner of the state in Hidalgo County. The plant represents a $100 million investment.
New Mexico has a diverse capacity for enabling the growth of the biofuels industry, from crop production to refining. Joule Unlimited, Inc. operates a facility in Hobbs, in southeast New Mexico, utilizing a new technology that turns sunlight, saline water, and carbon dioxide into refinery-ready ethanol and diesel. xF Technologies Inc., in Albuquerque, has developed a chemical process which can convert algae, wood, and other plants into biodiesel and gasoline for $2 per gallon.
New Mexico is home to two Department of Energy-funded laboratories: Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. The Air force Research Laboratory (AFRL), New Mexico Tech, and New Mexico State University also conduct research in many fields of energy.
The Energy Security program area works to reduce the risks of transformative energy solutions that will enhance the nation’s security and economic prosperity. Energy security research at Sandia seeks to address key challenges facing our nation and the world. Sandia works with the energy industry to improve current hardware and develop the next generation of technologies to extract or produce energy.
The Energy, Climate, and Infrastructure Security (ECIS) Strategic Management Unit (SMU) spearheads research into energy alternatives that will help the nation reduce its dependence on oil and coal and to combat the effects of climate change. Sandia’s long history with geothermal, solar, and wind energy research has seen a vast increase in effort and intensity over the past 15 years, and has also been supplemented in recent years with efforts in biologically based fuels: biomass from nonfood plant sources and algae—both of which can be grown on land unsuitable for farming.
LANL’s Applied Energy Program Office conducts research in fuel cells, hydrogen storage and production, hydrogen safety codes and standards, carbon sequestration, unconventional fossil fuels, carbon dioxide separation and capture, superconductivity, infrastructure analysis, biofuels, energy storage, and geothermal energy. The Technology Transfer office assists industry in accessing LANL research.
Formerly the Institute of Mining and Technology, NMT’s extensive research programs include the Petroleum Recovery and Research Center and the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy. The Petroleum Recovery Research Center (PRRC) of New Mexico Tech is regarded both nationally and internationally as one of the nation's leading petroleum research centers. PRRC was established by the New Mexico State Legislature in 1977 to conduct both basic and applied research designed to improve recovery of petroleum and natural gas. PRRC's research program emphasizes the development of improved oil recovery processes that can be applied to many of the older oil fields. PRRC program studies include:
NMSU has developed an international track record in the study and development of photovoltaic and other sources of alternative energy, including fuel cell design. Additionally, the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center, administered by NMSU, provides expertise on nuclear waste disposal, an issue of concern nationwide. By creating an Institute for Sustainability of Water, Energy, and Land, NMSU will ramp up its multidisciplinary energy research and technology development programs in renewable and nuclear sources of energy to serve the entire Southwest. Specifically, NMSU will carry out research on the following:
NMSU is part of the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bio products, a consortium of universities and research institutions awarded $49 million by DOE to commercialize algae into a biofuel.
The Directed Energy Directorate is the U.S. Air Force’s center of excellence for directed energy technology. With an annual budget exceeding $300 million, the workforce of 800+ people develop and transition research technologies into military systems used by operational commands.
There are four technical competencies at the center of all research and development at the Directorate:
There are four technology divisions within the Directorate: