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PRC approves PNM solar, battery agreements for projects in CCSD boundaries

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
A transformer is pictured just outside the San Juan Generating Station. The transformer increases the voltage prior to transporting it away from the power plant.

AZTEC — The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has unanimously approved power purchase and energy storage agreements for solar arrays and battery storage, including projects in San Juan County, to replace the electricity that Public Service Company of New Mexico currently receives from the San Juan Generating Station.

The PRC met on Dec. 2 via Zoom and the meeting was broadcasted live on YouTube.

In July, the PRC approved replacing the electricity from the coal-fired power plant with 100% renewable resources, however that approval did not include the power purchase and energy storage agreements for all of the resources approved in the portfolio.

The Dec. 2 approval includes two solar array projects with battery storage located within the boundaries of Central Consolidated School District. It also includes amendments to the Arroyo Solar contracts.

The projects in CCSD boundaries include the 200 megawatt San Juan Solar project with 100 megawatts of battery storage and the 100 megawatt Rockmont Solar project with 30 megawatts of battery storage.

PRC Commissioner Theresa Becenti-Aguilar

Commissioner Theresa Becenti-Aguilar, who represents northwest New Mexico, said the projects will provide property tax revenue that will benefit the school district.

CCSD has been concerned that it may not be able to meet its bond obligations if the San Juan Generating Station closes in 2022. PNM is the majority owner of the San Juan Generating Station and plans to cease operations in the summer of 2022.

However, the City of Farmington and Enchant Energy have partnered in an effort to keep the power plant operating by retrofitting it with carbon capture technology. The Global CCS Institute’s 2020 report released this week lists the San Juan Generating Station as one of the carbon capture projects in advanced development.

The solar arrays and battery storage that will provide power to PNM customers starting in the summer of 2022 are expected to be online in June 2022.

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

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