Farmington will not protest PNM's integrated resource plan

City had until Wednesday to express opposition to plan

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The San Juan Generating station is seen, Thursday, June 16, 2016 in Waterflow.
  • City officials say they will work with PNM officials to extend the life of the plant.
  • SEveral entities have an ownership interest in the plant, including Farmington and PNM.
  • The city says it will lose its $34 million investment if the plant closes.

FARMINGTON — The city of Farmington announced this morning that it will not file a protest with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission about Public Service Company of New Mexico's integrated resource plan.

The integrated resource plan calls for PNM to pull out of San Juan Generating Station in 2022 and not have any electricity produced by coal after 2031.

PNM filed the plan with the PRC at the beginning of July, and Farmington had until Wednesday to file a protest. The PRC will evaluate the plan based on its impact to PNM ratepayers. 

"We feel there is a better chance of extending the life of the plant by working collaboratively as long as possible with PNM," Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes said in a text message today. 

A press release from the city states that it will work with state legislators, Four Corners Economic Development Inc., and other San Juan Generating Station owners, including PNM, to try to keep the generating station open after 2022.  

Mayes said if collaboration with other stakeholders does not work, the city will have plenty of opportunities to intervene when the PRC considers an application to abandon the San Juan Generating Station that PNM will likely file between July and December next year.

Mayes said the abandonment hearings will likely be a "more appropriate and effective opportunity in the regulatory process."

While Farmington will not protest the plan, the city acknowledged that closing the generating station will have devastating impacts on the local economy. In addition to causing job losses in the county and lost tax revenue, it will also impact the Farmington Electric Utility System, according to a press release from the city.  

The press release calls the San Juan Generating Station "an integral, cost-effective and environmentally compliant component" of the city's electric power generation portfolio.  

The city would lose an estimated $34 million in investments in the San Juan Generating Station if it closes in 2022. It would also cost about $97 million for the city to replace the power it gets from the generating station.

Although it will not protest the integrated resource plan, the city opposes closing the power plant. According to the press release, the city will intervene in the PRC case next year if PNM files an application to abandon the San Juan Generating Station.  

“We must fight for these jobs, for the men and women who hold them and their families, and for the economic and societal benefits they provide,” Mayor Tommy Roberts said in a press release. “At the same time, we must recognize that these jobs will not last forever, and we must continue our preparation for that time of transition and transformation in our local, state, and regional economies.”  

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