Public Service Company of New Mexico on Wednesday formally requested that the state Public Regulation Commission delay until August any final vote on its proposal to revamp the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station near Farmington.
The commission had been expected to vote on the power plant’s future last week. However, commissioners allowed PNM to request an extension in order to finalize agreements with a Colorado coal company and new partnerships under an ownership restructuring.
The commission’s order last week said, “Under no circumstances will any extension extend beyond Aug. 1, 2015.” But in its filing Wednesday, the company asked to push that deadline back a few days.
One of the plant’s new owners, the city of Anaheim, Calif., “may be unable to approve and execute the Ownership Restructuring Agreements until August 4, 2015 due to the requirements of its public notice and approval process,” PNM said. “If Anaheim is unable execute the agreements by August 1, 2015, PNM requests to be allowed to make a supplemental filing, no later than August 6, 2015.”
“This extension is reasonable and will allow PNM to complete this very complex process which would result in a large cost savings for customers, dramatically cut the company’s use of coal and increase the use of cleaner energy resources, including solar generation,” Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM Resources’ chairman, president and CEO, said in a news release.
Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, an environmentalist group that opposes PNM’s plans for the coal-burning plant, said Wednesday the extra few days PNM seeks don’t make much difference. “Ultimately the plan is not cost effective or in the public interest,” she said.
PNM plans to close two coal-burning units at the San Juan Generating Station in 2017. But the company wants to increase the coal-burning capacity in the remaining units to help make up for the lost power from the two closed units. The company also proposes adding a natural-gas-fueled plant, nuclear power from the Palo Verde plant in Arizona and some solar power.