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Making Tough Decisions in New Mexico During the Transition to Renewables
As the state moves to 100% renewable energy, communities that relied on coal facilities for jobs and economic growth are pushing for equity in emerging clean energy opportunities.
Coal power slippage signals the end of an era
The latest plant retirement announcements—in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Wisconsin—highlight how coal continues to lose its historical stature as a baseload source of electricity.
Op-ed: A Plains-state template for just transition
As the ongoing and “inevitable” decline of coal proceeds, the former lieutenant governor of North Dakota calls for foresight and planning, citing post-coal initiatives in Colorado, New Mexico, and Washington.
Op-ed: In favor of sensible post-coal reinvestment over long-shot schemes
“San Juan County would be far better served investing in the new energy economy,” write the authors, arguing instead for investment in “increasingly low-cost technologies that are practical and saleable.”
Report: Proposed retrofit of New Mexico plant isn’t the ticket
“The simple reality is that the proposed carbon capture retrofit at the San Juan Generating Station is not financially viable,” said a co-author of a study dismantling the promoter’s pitch.
Western co-op group promises transition assistance as it shifts from coal
In announcing its acceleration of coal-plant closures in Colorado and New Mexico, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association said it would keep the affected 600 workers and their communities in mind.
Long-shot carbon-capture project in New Mexico faces costly hurdles
A proposal to turn the San Juan Generating Station into a profitable coal-fired power generation model may be technically feasible, but the economics of the project still don’t pencil out.
New Mexico as ground zero in the transition debate
The politics are tangled and the particulars unique. But the debate here distills a bigger question as to what regional coalfield economies can do in the face of fast-unfolding change.
Labor unions in New Mexico brace for change
"Although not many in this room love the idea of the closure, the decision by the utility has been made and with that comes many challenges and, hopefully, opportunities.”
Commentary: Little hope in long-shot retrofit of New Mexico coal plant
A deal geared mainly to see that an outside company is approved for a $5.8 million research grant has the city of Farmington taking on credit-rating and reputational risk
Western-states electricity group turns aside offer to modernize
Tri-State Generation Transmission, which has 43 co-op members in four states and remains disproportionately reliant on coal, declined an overture from a company seeking to bring cheaper, greener energy to the region.
Report: New Mexico electric co-op’s breakaway move suggests a model for others to follow
In a “David and Goliath battle,” Kit Carson co-op is winning its fight to modernize its business model in a way that supports local job creation and local economic development.
Cross-spectrum support drives New Mexico adoption of transition law
“An unlikely coalition of backers”—unions, environmentalists and the state’s biggest public utility—helped enact a bill that pushes New Mexico into a new energy era.
Op-Ed: New Mexico’s energy policy shift will create jobs
A new law requiring a 50 percent commitment to renewables will prove a boon “as skilled workers are needed to manufacture, install and operate new clean energy technologies.”
New Mexico moves closer to coal phase-out
A proposal that would allow for bonds to be issued for closure costs at the San Juan Generating Station advanced as the state contemplates shifting to 50 percent renewables by 2050.
Skeptical response to private proposal to keep San Juan Generating Station alive
A proposal by a “mysterious hedge fund” to save a Farmington, N.M., coal-fired power plant from closure has been met with skepticism. The fund has no experience in the sector.
Coalition backs New Mexico bill to fund community transition and offset utility’s losses in shutdown of San Juan Generating Station
The governor, the utility industry, and environmentalists support a bill to “give a softer landing to San Juan County, both for the workers and the loss of tax revenue," one advocate said.
Regulators approve transition plans in New Mexico
The Public Service Commission has given the biggest utility in New Mexico the green light to close the state’s largest coal-fired power plant and to liquidate its stake in another.
Report: Tribe will lose millions on Four Corners coal plant gamble
The Navajo Nation will lose almost $300 million on its July acquisition of part of an aging and increasingly uncompetitive coal-fired power plant in New Mexico, concludes a new study.
Shale-energy companies commit $100 million to community-impact programs in New Mexico and Texas
A consortium of 17 companies have pledge $100 million in public-service funding for communities affected by the shale-energy boom. Funds are earmarked for schools, healthcare, roads, housing and business development.
Momentum toward industrial-scale solar on Navajo lands
Momentum is growing around modernizing tribal renewable-energy policies on the Navajo Nation of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, according to a new report. The shift is being driven in part by the large-scale deployment of solar generation throughout the Southwest, where Navajo lands remain something of an island in a growing regional sea of utility-scale solar installations.
A difficult transition looms in northwest New Mexico
San Juan County, N.M., stands to lose 10 percent of its total property tax revenues when the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station closes in 2022, and the plant’s retirement will cost the area 1,500 jobs and $105 million in lost wages. State legislators are now drafting bills to bring relief funding to the region as local officials seek help. “We're looking to lose coal," the mayor of Farmington recently said.
Growing awareness in southwest U.S. of rising risk to coal-heavy economies
With the U.S. coal industry “in frank decline,” the well-being of communities in the four corners region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah is at risk as three coal-fired plants in the region becoming increasingly uncompetitive. Activists, educators and elected officials have responded by pressing for more initiatives meant to diversify the region’s economy, including a pilot scholarship project at Navajo Technical University. “This is a unique program that specifically helps communities affected by the decline in the coal industry,” said the university’s president. “It’s making many opportunities available for Navajo students, but there’s still tremendous need out there.”
New Mexico legislators acknowledge need for greater tax-base diversification in San Juan County
Lawmakers in New Mexico are grappling with how to manage the imminent closure of a coal-fired power plant in San Juan County in a way that will protect the local tax base. The state is also exploring job-retraining programs in the area alongside policies that would encourage investment in local renewable energy and natural gas projects. The San Juan Generating Station produces millions of dollars in tax revenues for the county, and its owner, Public Service Company of New Mexico, is seeking a state deal that would support a transition to other forms of more economical power generation.
Op-ed: Embracing transition, PSC of New Mexico is acting in customers’ best interest
The Public Service Company of New Mexico, the biggest utility in the state, is doing right by its customers in planning to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station by 2020 and replace it with renewable resources, gas-fired generation and power-storage technology. The transition promises to provide “important and beneficial economic development opportunities for our state and its rural communities,” writes the author, who notes that the wind and solar industries have already invested $4.4 billion locally.
Wind Boom Brings 3,000 Jobs and Billions in Infrastructure Investment to Rural New Mexico
New Mexico ranked first nationally for windfarm construction last year, according to a new study that sees the state’s rural communities benefitting especially from an influx of investment that is expected to continue. The wind industry has invested $3 billion in New Mexico and created about 3,000 jobs: “Employment runs the full gamut, from front-end field workers who assess wind resources and work with local communities to construction jobs and long-term employment for operations and maintenance folks. “Wind technicians make up one of the two fastest-growing jobs nationwide alongside solar installers.”
Coal company with mines in several states is in financial peril
An analysis of Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal shows that it is in deep financial peril, a situation that may affect communities in Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Wyoming as the company’s customer base dries up. “The cost inherent in coal-fired power are moving (utilities) away from coal," says the study’s author.
IEEFA Update: The Saudi Arabia of Solar? American Indian Country
Energy Transition Openings Now in the Four-Corners Region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah
Op-Ed: As Transition Unfolds, Local Ownership Will be Key
An op-ed writer in New Mexico makes the case against utility monopoly control of fast-growing solar energy resources: “The promise of the advanced energy economy goes beyond a cleaner environment and more sustainable power—it’s also about building a more diversified, resilient and competitive economy.”
New Mexico Legislators Urged to Expand Renewable Energy Target to 50
Lawmakers are being pressed to increase New Mexico’s renewable energy generation mandate to 50 percent of total electricity generation in the state, from 20 percent. The state’s biggest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico, is already planning to be out of the coal business by 2031.