The coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington will completely cease operations this week, ending 50 years of continuous power supply for Public Service Company of New Mexico and other local and regional utilities. About 100 workers still employed at the plant will be laid off over the next month.
But the plant’s future remains in limbo, despite plans by the City of Farmington and development company Enchant Energy Inc. to apply carbon capture and sequestration technology to continue running the facility. That’s because, despite four years of negotiations, Farmington and Enchant failed to reach a facility transfer agreement with PNM and other plant co-owners, prompting the city to seek legal action last week to force PNM and the other utilities to sign ownership over to Farmington.
Without a court injunction, the utilities now exiting San Juan plan to demolish the plant in the next few months.
Farmington, which currently owns a 5% stake in the plant, sued the other co-owners in the 11th Judicial District Court in San Juan last Thursday, requesting a restraining order to impede them from dismantling or removing any equipment from the plant, nor let any plant permits expire, while the court considers Farmington’s contention of a legal right to acquire the facility. Under an agreement signed in 2017, Farmington expected to acquire the plant for free and then hand over 95% ownership to Enchant to install carbon capture and run the facility.