New Mexico utility replacing coal plant with solar + storage portfolio

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The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) unanimously approved replacement of the electricity that the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) receives from the San Juan Generating Station with a combination of solar generation, energy storage and demand response.

The portfolio of resources approved by the Public Regulation Commission was developed by the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE) and includes 650 MW of solar generation, 340 MW of energy storage and 24 MW of demand response.

The CCAE portfolio includes $447 million in investment in the Central Consolidated School District where the coal plant now operates, with the remaining resources in McKinley County and on the Jicarilla Apache Nation in Rio Arriba County. Together these resources will bring over $1 billion in investments to northwestern New Mexico and are expected to support the creation of over 3,500 jobs.

PNM is also required to expand its existing demand response programs, which pay customers to reduce or shift their electricity usage during times when the electric grid is stressed, better matching the demand for power with supply.

“The NMPRC Decision shows that we can reliably replace coal generation with a portfolio of renewable energy, energy storage and demand-side resources,” said Justin Brant, senior associate in the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s (SWEEP) Utility Program.

“The portfolio of resources approved today will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put New Mexico on a path to meet the renewable energy and energy efficiency goals established by the legislature in the Energy Transition Act and the Efficient Use of Energy Act,” added Tammy Fiebelkorn, SWEEP’s New Mexico representative.

Senior Associate Justin Brant provided testimony supporting the inclusion of demand response resources in the replacement portfolio. SWEEP applauds the decision taken by the Public Regulation Commission.

News item from Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

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