October 10, 2017 Read More →

Electricity-Generation Trends in New Mexico Reflect Larger U.S. Shift

Santa Fe New Mexican:

The Trump administration’s announcement Monday that it’s taking steps to repeal regulations on coal-fired power plants is unlikely to change the fact that market forces already are pushing the state away from dependence on coal.

A large coal company operating in New Mexico says it supports the repeal. But, while some environmental groups decried the rollback as an affront to climate change policy, others said deregulation will not be enough to save an industry that is no longer viable.

Public Service Company of New Mexico said it still plans to stop burning coal in the next decade or so.

Public Service Company of New Mexico said last spring it plans to shut down the coal-dependent Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington by 2022 and entirely wean its energy production off coal by 2031. The company currently relies on coal for 60 percent of its energy generation but will drop at least 12 percent by 2025.

To comply with the Clean Power Plan, PNM had already agreed to shut down two of its four coal-burning units at Four Corners and install pollution controls on existing units by the end of 2017.

Four Corners is among a number of coal-fired power plants nationwide that have closed or are scheduled to close in coming years as a result of rising costs of burning coal compared to cheap natural gas and increasingly affordable renewable energy sources.

In April, a survey by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis found that 46 coal-burning units at 25 power plants across 16 states will close or significantly reduce production by 2018.

More: Rollback unlikely to reverse coal’s downtrend in N.M.

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