PNM Power for Progress: Less Coal, Cleaner Energy, Affordable Power

Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules, the San Juan Generating Station must reduce its emissions to reduce regional haze and improve visibility in the Four Corners area of New Mexico. The EPA initially recommended that the plant install expensive pollution controls on each of the four generating units at San Juan Generating Station. After working with the EPA, the New Mexico Environment Department, the Governor’s office and Navajo Nation, PNM proposed an alternative solution that costs significantly less and provides broader environmental benefits.

PNM’s proposal calls for closing two of the plant’s four coal-fired units, installing emissions control technology on the remaining units, and replacing lost power with a mixture of cleaner resources.

The Plan:

  • Closure of San Juan Generating Station Units 2 and 3 by the end of 2017.
  • Installation of nitrogen oxide emissions reduction technology on Units 1 and 4, reducing haze-causing emissions.
  • Replacing retired generation capacity with solar, low-emission natural gas, and existing zero-emission nuclear power.

The Benefits:

  • Puts New Mexico on a path towards compliance with new carbon regulations proposed by the EPA.
  • Protects hundreds of jobs in the Four Corners area.
  • For the San Juan Generating Station:
    • 50% fewer emissions
    • 50% less water used
    • 50% less coal capacity

This plan takes a long-term view that considers the needs of all of our customers, while protecting the environment and ensuring reliability. The PNM proposal provides the maximum environmental benefit at the lowest cost to our customers.

New Multi-Party Settlement Reached to Move Plan Forward

In August 2015, PNM, environmental, clean energy and consumer organizations signed a new agreement, moving the plan to shut down two of the coal-fired units forward. Participants to the agreement include the Utility Division Staff of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC), the New Mexico Attorney General, Western Resource Advocates and the New Mexico Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy.The New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers (NMIEC) subsequently joined the agreement, and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority later filed to withdraw its opposition.

The NMPRC Approved the Agreement on December 16, 2015 

A hearing examiner for the NMPRC issued a recommended decision advising commissioners for the NMPRC to approve the new stipulated agreement on Nov. 16, 2015, and the NMPRC voted in favor of the agreement in December. Our press release detailing the agreement can be found here.