Out go the Lights! Time to Speak Up

  • Post published:March 16, 2015
  • Post category:Issues

Shut Down the San Juan Generating Station? It’s time to speak up! The NMBC encourages you to make your voice heard in support of keeping the San Juan Generating Station in operation.

Public Hearing on Wednesday, 3-18-15 at 5:30 pm in Albuquerque: The NM Public Regulation Commission (PRC) will hold a public comment session on the case addressing PNM’s proposal to close down two units at San Juan Generating Station (SJGS), install additional controls on the remaining units, and replace the lost power with a mixture of existing nuclear energy, solar energy and natural gas. There is an organized push from environmental groups who want to close the SJGS completely.

When: Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 5:30 p.m.

Where: African American Performing Arts Center Auditorium, 310 San Pedro Dr. at the New Mexico Fairgrounds in Albuquerque.

How you can help: We would appreciate having NMBC supporters attend this hearing to share thoughts about the contributions of the plant to the power supply and the economy. The proposed plan, which is supported by the EPA, N.M. Environment Department, PNM, the NM Public Regulation Staff and others, will provide many environmental improvements. Gov. Susana Martinez and Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly also support the proposal.

If you cannot attend the hearing, but would like to express your opinion to PRC Commissioners, you may do so by emailing the PRC with a one touch email HERE.

More Info Below: Please find a summary of the proposal and some background information on San Juan. You can learn more about PNM’s proposal for San Juan HERE.

San Juan Generating Station Information: The NMBC believes that PNM’s plan is responsible – reducing our reliance on coal, providing a balanced and reliable power supply for customers and reducing emissions and water use by about 50 percent. Additionally, the plan represents the most cost-effective option for customers and is a reasonable compromise, given the cost, the economic impact on the Four Corners economy and the need for reliable power.

Background on the Plant

Built in the 1970s, San Juan Generating Station is a four-unit, 1683 megawatt, coal-fired power plant that has been the backbone of the state’s electric system for generations, and a cost-effective and reliable power source for PNM customers. Today, it is PNM’s single largest power source, providing 50 percent of its power. PNM has invested millions in environmental controls.

San Juan is a key contributor to the Four Corners economy.

  • PNM is a good corporate citizen. Employees volunteer in the community, and the plant supports important local non-profit organizations.
  • The plant and the coal mine are vital employers for Native American residents of the Four Corners. Together with the mine and the plant, there are more than 700 fulltime jobs plus work for contractors throughout the year.

  • Community leaders in Farmington and San Juan County support PNM and the San Juan Generation Station because of the jobs and revenue the plant provides, and because the company continues to invest in environmental protections to ensure the air remains clean. Many believe a plant closure would devastate the Four Corners economy.

PNM’s Proposal: The PNM plan was proposed two years ago by PNM, the N.M. Environment Department and EPA representatives, with encouragement from N. M. Gov. Susana Martinez and the Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, as a cost-effective approach for complying with federal haze regulations. Alternately, a federal plan would have required keeping all four units running and installing very expensive pollution controls that would have reduced one type of emission and had no impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA approved the plan last October.

The plan calls for:

  • Closure of Units 2 and 3 in 2017 and the installation of less expensive nitrogen oxide emissions reduction technology on the remaining two units.
  • PNM proposes to replace the lost coal power with a mixture of existing nuclear energy, solar energy and natural gas.

Environmental Benefits:

  • By closing the two units, PNM will reduce nitrogen oxides along with sulfur dioxide and particulates (all related to haze formation) and reduce greenhouse gases, water consumption and coal ash generation by approximately 50 percent.
  • In addition to meeting federal haze regulations, the plan will also put New Mexico well down the path toward compliance with new carbon regulations proposed by the EPA in June.
  • The implementation of the revised plan creates a robust platform that allows the plant to better comply with anticipated future environmental regulations, including coal ash regulation.

EPA approval is the second of three regulatory milestones necessary before the plan can be implemented. Last year, the plan won unanimous approval from the N.M. Environmental Improvement Board. NMPRC approval is still required.

While some oppose the plan, it also has support from NMPRC staff, the N.M. Attorney General, the NM Utility Shareholders Alliance, the NM Industrial Energy Consumers and others.