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Land office hires renewable-energy staff

SANTA FE – State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has hired two staff members to help boost renewable energy production on state trust lands.

Garcia Richard, a Democrat who took office Jan. 1, won approval this year for an extra $100,000 in funding to help establish the Office of Renewable Energy – part of a push to triple the amount of wind, solar and other renewable energy generated on state trust land.

New Mexico’s commissioner of public lands oversees 14,000 square miles of state land. Revenue generated by the land – through oil and gas production, ranching and development – supports public schools, universities and other beneficiaries.

The land office has 17 renewable energy leases already in place and more than 30 pending applications for wind and solar projects.

Jeremy Lewis is the new director of the Office of Renewable Energy, and Kelly Haug serves as an analyst.

Just last week, Garcia Richard signed a lease for a wind farm.

“These projects are vital to helping us diversify the money that we raise to fund our public schools, universities, and hospitals,” she said.