February 8, 2019 Read More →

New Mexico legislation would speed closure of San Juan coal plant

Santa Fe New Mexican:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and several environmentalist groups on Thursday praised legislation aimed at ensuring the shuttering of the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station near Farmington and establishing ambitious targets for pushing New Mexico toward more reliance on renewable energy sources.

The bill is intended to soften the financial hit both to the community surrounding the aging power plant and to Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state’s largest utility and majority owner of the plant, which is a major source of employment in Northwestern New Mexico.

State Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, on Thursday introduced the 83-page Energy Transition Act, which proposes to allow PNM to recover investments through selling bonds that would be paid off with a new “energy transition” charge for customers.

It also seeks to provide funds to assist and retrain workers who lose jobs from the shutdown and sets a 2030 deadline for investor-owned utilities and rural electric co-ops in the state to derive 50 percent of their power from renewable sources such as solar and wind energy.

“The bill lays out the road map that will lead New Mexico from a fossil fuel-based economy to a green economy,” Candelaria said in an interview. “And keeping with the governor’s promise during the campaign, this bill lays out an aggressive 50 percent portfolio standard by 2030, then by 2045 puts New Mexico on the path to 80 percent renewable portfolio standard, which would make New Mexico the leader in the nation.”

More: Backers praise bill to shut coal-fired San Juan Generating Station

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