New Mexico regulators approve all-renewable replacement power option for San Juan coal plant

first_imgNew Mexico regulators approve all-renewable replacement power option for San Juan coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Albuquerque Journal:The state Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved an all-renewable energy plan Wednesday morning to replace the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington.The 5-0 decision sets in motion plans for Public Service Company of New Mexico to sign power purchase agreements with third-party providers to build 650 megawatts of solar farms in San Juan, Rio Arriba and McKinley counties, plus 300 MW of backup battery storage. Investment in those new resources could total about $1 billion, bringing 1,200 or more construction jobs to the northwestern region of the state.Commissioners said the plan, which was recommended by hearing examiners in the case, is the best option to meet environmental goals and other requirements specified in the state’s new Energy Transition Act. The ETA requires PNM to transition to 80% renewable energy by 2040 and carbon-free generation by 2045.PNM had requested PRC approval last summer to abandon the San Juan power plant in 2022 to begin meeting ETA goals, which the commission granted last March. But commissioners still needed to approve new generating resources to replace lost electricity from the coal plant.In the end, commissioners accepted the recommendation by PRC hearing examiners to adopt an all-renewable approach proposed by the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy. Examiners said the proposal would best meet the ETA’s environmental goals, as well as respond to the act’s emphasis on placing at least some replacement power generation in San Juan County to offset the impact of the coal plant’s closure on local communities.PRC General Counsel Michael Smith told commissioners Wednesday morning that evidence presented by the examiners shows the CCAE plan will restore much of the tax base that San Juan County and the Central Consolidated School District there will lose after PNM abandons San Juan.[Kevin Robinson-Avila]More: PRC approves all-renewable plan to replace power from San Juanlast_img read more