Legislation designed to keep the San Juan Generating Station near Waterflow, New Mexico operational is expected to be reviewed when lawmakers begin the regular 2018 session in mid-January of the New Mexico State Legislature.
Built over a six-year period between 1976 and 1982, the facility underwent a $320 million plant-wide retrofit in 2009.
But the Public Service Company of New Mexico, which is the majority owner of the plant, last spring announced a plan that would do away with coal power as part of the company’s portfolio by the year 2031.
Two lawmakers, Representative Paul Brady of Aztec and Senator Steve Neville of Farmington, are asking that PNM study the economic ramifications of closing the facility. The legislation will open the door to transferring control of the station to another party if up to 50 percent of the facility is used to produce energy.
The legislation will also allow for continued coal-fired production at San Juan, or for converting the plant for natural gas and geothermal production.
The San Juan Generating Station has annually burned around 6.6 million tons of coal, supplying the energy needs of consumers in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Earlier this month, the plant closed down two of its four units as part of an agreement with New Mexico and the federal government to reduce haze pollution.
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