Gov. Lujan Grisham and the Public Regulation Commission seem to believe that by pushing the closure of San Juan Generating Station until after the end of this summer that they have “taken care of” New Mexico’s electricity reliability issues.
The reality could not be further from the truth. As the Albuquerque Journal and Rio Grande Foundation have BOTH pointed out, getting through this summer does not mean the blackout situation is “solved.” We likely need a natural gas plant based in the Four Corners or elsewhere, but that was rejected by the PRC. As noted, “PNM officials and others criticized the PRC for rejecting PNM’s proposal to build a 280-megawatt “peaking” natural gas plant – which can rapidly ramp up and down as needed – alongside new renewable generation when it ruled on San Juan replacement power in 2020.”
We have heard of no action undertaken by the Lujan Grisham Administration to create viable means of keeping the lights on in the summer of 2023 (when additional base load capacity in the form of Palo Verde will be lost).
UPDATE: In another case of the Rio Grande Foundation being ahead of the curve, this story ran on Thursday, May 12, 2022 detailing the challenges PNM is facing in obtaining solar panels to prepare for Summer of 2023. According to PNM, “Those delays mean that nearly half of the 950 megawatts of solar generation and battery storage that was scheduled to be fully online by early next year now won’t be available until after summer 2023.”
The Gov. is going to ignore the problem and hope voters don’t hold this against her in November, but there is no doubt that New Mexico’s electricity issues are a problem.