February 28, 2019 Read More →

PNM: No interest in keeping San Juan coal plant open

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

PNM Resources Inc. officials said their company firmly intends to close the coal-fired San Juan plant in 2022 and expressed confidence the New Mexico Legislature will pass a measure to provide financing for that effort.

PNM Chairman, President and CEO Patricia Vincent-Collawn said in a Feb. 27 earnings call that the company, parent to utility Public Service Co. of New Mexico, stands by its plans to completely abandon the plant following final evaluation for replacement power resources in its request for proposals, along with completion of an updated load forecast and plant decommissioning study.

The city of Farmington, N.M., on Feb. 24 announced it signed an agreement with a private holding company to keep the plant open, but the town has only an 8.48% stake in San Juan Unit 4, one of the two remaining operating units. PNM is the plant’s operator and majority owner.

PNM Executive Vice President and CFO Charles Eldred said the company has every intention of shedding its ownership interest in San Juan, regardless of what Farmington has “theoretically” proposed. The company will not in any way accept a power purchase agreement or any involvement in the plant after 2022, he said.

Vincent-Collawn said New Mexico state Senate Bill 489, also known as the Energy Transition Act, includes securitization financing provisions for San Juan’s closure that PNM has supported, along with the governor’s strong support.

Vincent-Collawn pointed out the bill, which also would increase the state’s existing 20% renewable energy standard to 50% by 2030, is one of several measures that call for more renewable and carbon-free resources. The majority of the House and Senate, along with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are Democrats, and energy policy has been a central focus of this year’s legislature. “So I can’t see any coal fitting into our plans,” she said.

More ($): PNM stands by plans to close San Juan coal plant, urges passage of bill to help

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