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Hearing Examiner Rejects PNM's Plan For Coal

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Courtesy San Juan's Citizen Alliance
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On Wednesday, a Public Regulation Commission hearing examiner recommended against part of PNM’s energy replacement plan for 132 megawatts of coal-generated electricity.

PNM has been looking for a way to replace the energy that will be lost when two coal burning stacks at the San Juan Generating Station are shut down in 2017.

The utility submitted a proposal to the PRC that called for a different coal-burning unit to generate a hefty amount of megawatts, in addition to importing nuclear energy, plus some natural gas and a small amount of solar.

After months of consideration, Hearing Examiner Ashley Schannauer recommended against allowing coal in the mix, because PNM does not have an owner-partnership agreement for San Juan or a guaranteed source for coal after 2017.

Schannauer said the commission should allow PNM to import nuclear energy from Arizona, but the utility would have to charge ratepayers book value, which is hundreds of dollars less per kilowatt hour than proposed.

Opponents of the plan want the utility company to ditch coal and nuclear in favor of renewables.

Stakeholders have 10 days to file exceptions to the recommendation before the PRC makes a final decision.

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