PNM wants out of Four Corners coal plant
- Jan 11, 2021 10:31 am GMTJan 11, 2021 5:21 pm GMT
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Jan. 10—Public Service Company of New Mexico wants to abandon its share in the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant in San Juan County by the end of 2024.
PNM is seeking to transfer its 200 megawatts of retail coal-fired generation, equal to 13 percent of generation capacity at the plant, to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, according to documents filed Friday with the state Public Regulation Commission.
PNM is also seeking to issue roughly $300 million in energy savings bonds "secured by a non-bypassable customer charge" to finance the closure.
Mariel Nanasi, executive director of nonprofit New Energy Economy, said PNM's continued investment in the coal-fired plant was financially imprudent. And as a result, the abandonment costs shouldn't be passed on to customers.
In 2019, the state Supreme Court ruled ratepayers must be held harmless from bearing the cost of imprudent investments by utilities.
"They're trying to sell $300 million, plus interest, in bonds to Wall Street and then we have to pay it off," Nanasi said. "It's going to be on all our bills for the next 25 years."
PNM spokesman Ray Sandoval said the abandonment of the plant has been the utility's focus since finalizing the abandonment of the San Juan Generating Station, another coal-fired plant, last spring. He said the move should save ratepayers $100 million over the next 25 years.
"Once we made the decision to get out of San Juan, we were always turning our attention next to Four Corners," Sandoval said. "It's both economically and environmentally the right thing to do."
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