Farmington announces agreement to keep San Juan Generating Station open

The Daily Times staff
Lawrence Heller of Acme Equities LLC, left, and Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes, right, sign an agreement that will allow Farmington to keep the San Juan Generating Station open after 2022.

FARMINGTON — The City of Farmington announced tonight it has signed an agreement with Acme Equities LLC that will keep the San Juan Generating Station open after 2022.

Acme Equities LLC is a New York-based private holding firm that focuses on North American energy assets, according to a press release from the city.

Farmington has been working to find an operator for the San Juan Generating Station after Public Service Company of New Mexico, the majority owner of the power plant, announced plans to close it in 2022.

The city is a partial owner of the power plant. All the other owners have said they do not plan to receive power from the San Juan Generating Station after 2022. 

"After two years of what feels like a nearly full-time focus on a single issue, we have reached a milestone that few people thought remotely possible," City Manager Rob Mayes said in a text message to The Daily Times.

Mayes said identifying and entering into an agreement with a new owner means the San Juan Generating Station and the associated San Juan Mine can operate well beyond 2022. He said the agreement potentially saves 1,600 jobs and avoids countless uncalculated economic tolls to the community.

"The (San Juan Generating Station) is environmentally responsible, even meeting the stringent emission standards proposed by President (Barack) Obama," he said. "It is economically viable as a lowest cost producer of electricity to New Mexicans, and it has decades of service life remaining with minimal capital investment. Prematurely scrapping it at the expense of tax payers and rate payers is simply irresponsible and unnecessary."

He said a team of people began fighting to keep the power plant open while former Mayor Tommy Roberts was in office and Mayor Nate Duckett picked up the mantle when he took office last year. 

History, future of San Juan Generating Station

Mayes said the next step is to finalize the details of a formal purchasing agreement and begin negotiations with the other power plant owners.

"Make no mistake, there is work yet to do," he said. "But this is a momentous milestone in the process."

The Daily Times will follow this story as more details become available.

More:Local lawmakers seek to extend San Juan Generating Station's life

More:Two bills would provide financing mechanism for closure of San Juan Generating Station

More:Backers praise bill to shut coal-fired San Juan Generating Station

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