US Senator Tom Udall said that rural New Mexico can benefit from efforts to expand the production of electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Proposed solar-powered electric generating plant in Luna county was cited as an example by the senator. New Mexico and other states have imposed those requirements. New Mexico has set target of 15% of electricity from investor-owned utilities by 2015 and 20% by 2020.

New Mexico’s sun and wind are the gold and oil of the future if we start to develop them now, Tom Udall said.

The southern New Mexico county has high unemployment, Udall said, but Luna county has a massive untapped potential for solar energy.

If they can find a way to sell their sunlight, their future will be secure, Udall said.

Udall said that it was important to modernize the nation’s electric transmission grid to move electricity from renewable energy plants in rural areas to markets in fast-growing states. Money from a federal economic recover package will help finance smart grid projects, Udall said.

Everybody will benefit from an energy policy that sends more money to rural New Mexico and less money to Iran and Russia, Udall said.

Renewable energy will help the US in reducing its dependence on foreign oil, Udall said, but nuclear energy and domestic oil and natural gas production also must be part of the nation’s energy future.

Udall also said that the Congress should start working on health care reform to provide access to medical services to all the US citizens.

We can’t simply solve America’s economic problems and then deal with our health care problems later, said Udall. As long as we have a health care problem, we’re going to have an economic problem. To fix our economy, we have to tackle health care.