PRC approves utility’s deal with environmental groups

san juan coal plant

SANTA FE (AP) – The Public Regulation Commission has accepted an agreement between Public Service Company of New Mexico and three environmental groups about the utility’s proposal for a coal plant.

The deal, approved Wednesday, will allow the utility to close two of four coal-fired units at the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. The lost capacity would be replaced with coal-generated power from another unit at the plant as well as natural gas from a new facility, nuclear power from Arizona and a small percentage of solar power, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, a Santa Fe Democrat, has been critical of the utility company’s plan and cast the sole vote against the agreement. The list of other opponents includes Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.

Denver-based Southwest Generation Operating Co. runs a natural gas plant in New Mexico, and is also against the plan.

A final vote on plans for the plant is expected in December. Parts of the plan will go before a commission hearing officer Oct. 13.

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