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New Mexico regulators approve renewable energy plan

New Mexico regulators have approved a plan that spells out how much electric utilities can spend and what renewable energy sources they can tap to meet state standards.

The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday in a rule-making process aimed at establishing a methodology for utilities to calculate costs for renewable energy.

The annual cost cap that limits renewable energy expenditures will be 3 percent of customers’ bills starting in 2013. That’s up from the current 2.25 percent.

Ensuring utilities use a certain mix of renewable energy has made compliance with the cost cap difficult.

So the commission is allowing more flexibility by increasing the amount of wind power utilities can use to 30 percent. Solar remains at 20 percent, and other categories such as biofuels and geothermal power have been reduced to 5 percent.