The Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments was selected as the only New Mexico 2017 Innovation Award Winner from the National Association of Development Organization (NADO) for some of the implementation measures of the Southwest New Mexico Green Energy and Jobs Regional Strategic Plan; through the collaborative regional partnerships and the public/private partnerships. The Innovation Award honors NADO members for their creative approach in advancing regional community and economic development to improved quality of life.
In April of 2010, field staff from Senator Jeff Bingaman’s office convened a meeting to develop the Southwest New Mexico Green Energy and Jobs Task Force realizing that businesses, consumers, and local governments in southwest New Mexico had similar goals and challenges related to energy efficiency and renewable energy to promote economic growth and help diversify the economy.
The Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments (SWNMCOG) was awarded $250,000 from the U.S. Commerce-Economic Development Administration to start implementing the Southwest New Mexico Green Energy and Jobs Regional Strategic Plan. The SWNMCOG has been implementing the EDA Energy Grant since August 2015 and is nearing the completion of the project. The accomplishments of the award include:
1. Hosted Storm Water Harvesting Training
2. Hosted Green Building Training with ICAST
3. 335,000 Square Feet of Local Government LED Lighting Retrofits for facilities and amenities. Saving of 733,602 annual kilowatt hours and $78,517 annually
4. Finalized Green Technology and Sustainable Food Business Incubator Feasibility Study
5. Purchased Bulb Crusher
6. Along with businesses throughout the region decided that the Regional Entrepreneurial Development Association would be duplicating the efforts of the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce
The project partners were PNM, 3B Builders, Senator Bingaman, Senator Tom Udall, Senator Martin Heinrich and all local governments in Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna counties. The Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments will be recognized at a special reception during the NADO’s Conference in September.