PNM coal replacement needs more renewables

Solar - City of Santa Fe - Green Jobs

By Mona Blaber, Rio Grande Chapter communications coordinator, 03/31/14
The Santa Fe City Council in March joined citizens and community groups to ask PNM and the Public Regulation Commission to rethink the types of energy being considered to replace the 924 megawatts of coal from San Juan Generating Station that will stop polluting skies in a few years.
Last year, PNM reached a deal with the state of New Mexico and the Environmental Protection Agency to close two of the four units at the coal-fired San Juan power plant.
Of the 924 megawatts of power at the two units, PNM owns 400-plus. The deal it made with the Martinez administration’s Environment Department would replace that electricity with nuclear power from Arizona’s Palo Verde power plant, natural gas, some coal bought from companies that are withdrawing from ownership in San Juan’s other units, and only 40 megawatts of solar.
But many analysts believe PNM could add hundreds of megawatts of solar and wind power, generating jobs in New Mexico rather than sending money out of state to Palo Verde, all at a lower cost than the current plan.
The PNM plan must be approved by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. The Santa Fe City Council has voted to intervene in the case at the PRC, as will the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, which the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter is a member of.
The chapter is working to convince PNM that there is a less expensive and much healthier way to replace the coal power that will no longer contribute to the climate crisis.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can help to increase the amount of renewable energy in PNM’s plan, please contact Camilla Feibelman at camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org.