Farmington amends San Juan Generating Station letter of intent

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The San Juan Generating Station in Waterflow, seen in this 2015 file photo, is the subject of a feasibility study to assess the viability of installing carbon capture technology on two of its units.

FARMINGTON — Farmington has amended its non-binding letter of intent with Acme Equities LLC, a holding company based in New York.

The amendment changes two main things. Instead of referring to Acme, it refers to Enchant Energy — a New Mexico based subsidiary of Acme.

The amendment also extends the exclusivity clause to Sept. 21, meaning Farmington cannot enter into any negotiations for the San Juan Generating Station with any other entities until then.

The Farmington City Council unanimously approved the amendment during its meeting Tuesday evening.

The letter of intent states that the city may sell the San Juan Generating Station to Acme's subsidiary, but City Attorney Jennifer Breakell said the document does not lock the city into selling it to Enchant Energy.

Carbon Capture Feasibility study is underway

Enchant Energy has signed a contract with engineering firm Sargent and Lundy to complete a feasibility study examining installing carbon capture technology at the power plant. Sargent and Lundy previously completed a similar feasibility study in 2010 for Public Service Company of New Mexico.

The 2010 study found that it would cost $50 million to build a connector pipeline to transport carbon dioxide to the Cortez pipeline used by Kinder Morgan to transport carbon dioxide from southwest Colorado to Texas. It also estimated it would cost up to $3.74 billion to install carbon capture technology at the plant, however the 2010 study looked at all four units. Two of those four units have since been shuttered.

The 2010 study estimated it would cost $810 million to install carbon capture technology on Unit 1 and $1.06 billion to install the technology on Unit 4.

The feasibility study should be completed this summer. Enchant Energy will pay for the feasibility study.

Public Utility Commission expresses support for city’s effort

The Farmington Public Utility Commission, which serves as an advisory board for the city, approved a letter of support for the city’s efforts to evaluate ways to keep the power plant open. Commissioner Gordon Glass was the sole commissioner who did not support sending the letter, which he said was premature.

Gordon Glass

Prior to the commission meeting today, Glass spoke at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

“I worry most about raising expectations for the community, for the workers,” Glass said.

City Manager Rob Mayes said carbon capture technology is the only way the San Juan Generating Station could meet new state requirements outlined in the Energy Transition Act. 

Farmington mayor emphasizes impacts of closure to community

Mayor Nate Duckett said the city government is paying attention to the short-term and long-term costs associated with the project.

“What’s the cost of us doing nothing?” he said during the City Council meeting. “I think that’s a question that we have to assess when we talk about costs.”

Nate Duckett

He said the cost of doing nothing is telling the workers that the city doesn’t care about their jobs or their contribution to the local economy.

“When I go to sleep at night, I want to know that I’ve done everything that I can,” Duckett said. “I certainly believe that there is a future of additional renewable power sources that should exist in this community, but I also recognize and understand that the reality of renewable energy doesn’t include jobs, or very many jobs, in the long term.”

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at