The Public Regulation Commission is about to kick off hearings on how PNM, New Mexico’s largest energy utility, is going to replace the energy that will be lost when half of the coal-burning stacks at the San Juan Generating Station get shut down in 2017.
The utility is proposing increasing their shares of coal in the remaining stacks at the San Juan Generating Station, and to add a heavy helping of nuclear energy imported from Arizona, a lot of natural gas and a wee little smidgen of solar. Four percent to be exact.
But Camilla Fiebelman, director of the local Sierra Club chapter, says the utility should be seizing the moment to move away from fossil fuels.
“There’s a better way,” Fiebelman said. “We have this huge historic opportunity to get wind and solar energy at rock bottom prices.”
A few years ago the Environmental Protection Agency declared that the stacks in the Four Corners region, where the San Juan Generating Station is located, were not in compliance with the Regional Haze Rule.
PNM and other shareholders agreed to shut down half of the coal stacks at San Juan as part of the settlement.
Public hearings on the energy replacement plan begin on January 5th.