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PRC Delays Decision On PNM's Coal-Heavy Plan

Rita Daniels
Clean-energy advocates who are pushing for PNM to embrace renewables were disappointed by the PRC's vote.

People are going to have to wait to find out whether or not New Mexico’s largest utility will be allowed to continue investing heavily in coal power. Regulators decided to delay their decision on PNM’s power replacement plan Wednesday.

The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 to grant PNM more time to finalize a coal contract and an ownership agreement for the San Juan Generating Station.

Commissioner Patrick Lyons said, while PNM has failed to meet previous deadlines, it was in the public’s best interest to give another extension.

“I don’t know what the big hurry is myself,” Commissioner Lyons said. “You only talk about closing a coal plant once in a lifetime, so I want to make sure we get all the evidence before I make a decision.”

Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, who voted unsuccessfully against the delay, said it was high time the commission reject PNM’s plan once and for all.

The company wants to shut down two units at San Juan Generating Station and replace the energy with more coal, nuclear, natural gas and a small amount of solar.

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