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San Juan Generating Station retiring two coal-fired units

Published by
World Coal,

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) has given approval to PNM Resources' New Mexico Utility, Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) to allow the retirement of two units at San Juan Generating Station (SJGS).

The NMPRC voted 4-1 to approve the NMPRC General Counsel's proposed order for approval of the Hearing Examiner's 16 November 2015 recommended decision.

As a result of the approved agreement between PNM and various parties, two of the four coal-fired units at SJGS will close by 31 December 2017. The agreement also includes the installation of emissions control technology on the remaining units and other environmental and customer benefits to address compliance with federal visibility regulations under the Clean Air Act.

In addition, the agreement will aid New Mexico's ability to comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which imposes limits on carbon emissions.

"We are very pleased to have commission approval of the agreement," commented Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM Resources' Chairman, President and CEO. "The record for this case over the last two years has demonstrated our continued commitment to customers to provide reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable power. This plan not only represents the least-cost alternative for compliance with federal environmental regulations, but also protects the economy of the Four Corners region and the state."

Signatories to the 13 August 2015 agreement, which was the subject of the Hearing Examiner's recommended decision, are PNM, the Utility Division Staff of the NMPRC, the New Mexico Attorney General, Western Resource Advocates, the New Mexico Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers, New Mexico Independent Power Producers and Interwest Energy Alliance.

"It's important to remember that we were originally faced with a costly federal implementation plan to reduce regional haze with equipment on all four San Juan units, but with the leadership of Governor Susana Martinez and strong community support, including support from the Navajo Nation, we were able to work with the EPA and the state to find a lower-cost plan for customers that provides even broader environmental benefits," added Vincent-Collawn. "The agreement approved today is the result of substantial work done by many parties. I appreciate the collaborative effort that brought forth the best solution to a complex problem, along with the tenacity of those parties to continue to work on this solution during the course of the two years that it took to gain approval."

The closure of SJGS Units 2 and 3 by 31 December 2017 and the installation of the Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) equipment on the remaining two units are projected to reduce water use and seven different emissions (including carbon) at SJGS by approximately 50%.

It is also indicated that approval of the plan will allow for significant customer savings to begin when the new coal contract with Westmoreland Coal Co. takes effect and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval is received.

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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