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State agencies are soliciting proposals for Energy Transition Act funding to assist region

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The San Juan Generating Station is pictured, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, from the San Juan Mine.

AZTEC — Three state agencies are soliciting proposals for projects that will help San Juan County’s economy as the region prepares for the potential closure of the San Juan Generating Station in 2022.

On Sept. 22, the Energy Transition Act Committee released a request for proposals. The three agencies can award grants to proposals selected through this process.

The Department of Workforce Solutions can award up to $12 million in grants to assist displaced workers. The Indian Affairs Department has $2 million that it could distribute. The Economic Development Department has $6 million of funds for economic development projects.

Guidelines are available online at dws.state.nm.us/ETA.

The proposals will be discussed at the next Energy Transition Act Committee meeting. Proposals can be emailed to nmdws.communication@state.nm.us with the subject line as ETI RFI Proposal. The submissions are due by Oct. 31.

The three agencies will favor proposals that combine good economic development strategy, local workforce skill development that can lead to careers and leveraging of other available funding, according to a press release. In addition, the press release states that partnerships with Native American communities are critical.

The Energy Transition Act, which passed in 2019, created a funding mechanism to assist communities impacted by the closure of coal-fired power plants. This funding comes from securitized bonds. 

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved Public Service Company of New Mexico’s application earlier this year to use securitized bonds to refinance the past investments into the power plant and fund the transition to sources of electricity that have lower emissions. 

While PNM had proposed natural gas and renewables, the portfolio ultimately approved does not include any fossil fuels.

A portion of the bonds that the PRC approved will go to the three state agencies to assist the community and displaced workers. 

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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