New Mexico energy plans nearly 1GW of solar-plus-storage to change coal plant

Oct 13, 2020 02:46 PM ET
  • New Mexico's biggest energy plans to create 950MW of solar and storage by 2022 as it departures the state's San Juan coal plant as well as eyes 100% emissions-free electrical power by 2040.
New Mexico energy plans nearly 1GW of solar-plus-storage to change coal plant
Image: Public Service Company of New Mexico

Public Service Company of New Mexico's (PNM) shift, sustained by power purchase contracts on 4 generation and storage space projects, additionally presents a barrier to the success of a proposed carbon-capture retrofit aimed at keeping the San Juan center online, a short from the Institute for Energy Economics and also Financial Analysis (IEEFA) states.

IEEFA expert Karl Cates claimed PNM's strategy signifies a larger approaching change towards utility-scale renewables in the Four Corners area of Arizona and also New Mexico: "It will be seen industrywide as a fresh sign-- in addition to several others-- of where regional and also national energy markets are promptly relocating."

A filing by PNM with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission information just how the utility will change lost power from the coal plant. The 4 projects consist of: Arroyo Solar (300MW of generation paired with 150MW of storage), San Juan Solar 1 (200MW and also 100MW, respectively), 201LC 8me (100MW as well as 30MW) and also Jicarilla Solar 1 (50MW and 20MW).

While the payment still needs to sign off on 2 of the four solar bargains, IEEFA notes it is most likely to do so in the coming weeks given its current recommendation of full renewable resource substitute for the San Juan plant. PNM is said to be pressing for a quick decision so it can begin building and construction in January in time for a June 2022 commissioning.

The IEEFA brief claims the PNM campaign fulfills state assumptions around reinvestment in the neighborhoods most directly influenced by the shift away from coal-fired power. "Because PNM is just one of the largest electrical energy market players in the area, its change will influence other electrical power service providers in the West and also the Southwest, most of whom are facing the exact same market as well as plan pressures as PNM," the note claims.

The utility's solar passions damage a plan to retrofit San Juan with carbon capture that is supported by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and also a company called Enchant Energy.

US deputy secretary of power Mark Menezes was in New Mexico recently to review that project, highlighting its task creation capacity. He defined carbon capture, usage as well as storage space as "an amazing example of development, one that has the prospective to drive emissions down to zero, making fossil fuels as exhaust cost-free as renewables".

Nevertheless, IEEFA believes PNM's investments in utility-scale solar only make the proposed retrofit "much more not likely than ever to continue" and also boost the possibilities that San Juan will certainly be decommissioned as scheduled in 2022.

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