PNM Finds Vindication in San Juan Bids

May 19, 2012

Public Service Company of New Mexico says it has received four bids to install EPA-mandated pollution controls at its San Juan Generating Station...all of them just as costly as the company had predicted.

According to the Albuquerque Journal:

PNM says the lowest bid is more than double the federal agency’s estimate of $345 million to equip the coal-fired plant with selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, technology to cut pollutants that cause regional haze.   

  “Those bids support the SCR retrofit cost estimates on which PNM has relied through the rule-making process and contradict EPA’s much lower cost estimate,” the filing says.    In the filing, a supplement to PNM’s request for the EPA to reconsider its retrofit order, PNM contends EPA’s SCR estimate is “fatally flawed.” Because the actual costs are so much higher, “EPA must reconsider the final rule,” it says.


Both PNM and the State are challenging the EPA's mandate in court.

Meanwhile, this news could lend weight to a call by environmental groups to look into alternative options, like retiring some of San Juan's coal units in favor of natural gas.  It's an idea to which both PNM and Governor Susana Martinez appear to be increasingly receptive. On April 26 the Governor sent a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson asking for a 90 day stay of the agency's mandate so other solutions could be considered.  Then, on Thursday, a coalition of six environmental groups sent a letter inviting the Governor and PNM to a stakeholder's meeting on the same subject.  No word yet on whether the invitation has been accepted.