Haze could clear over San Juan Generating Station


PNM Resources' regulated New Mexico utility PNM, the NM Environment Department (NMED) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are in the process of addressing the issue of regional haze at the San Juan Generating Station (SJGS). The matter comes down to more than just aesthetics to an issue of compliance with federal visibility rules.

The groups have agreed to pursue a revised plan that, if approved, would mean the retirement of SJGS Units 2 and 3 by the end of 2017, and the installation of federally mandated selective non-catalytic reduction technology on two remaining units in 2016.

PNM Resources Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn believes that the new agreement offers a more promising alternative to selective catalytic reduction on all four units and even though prior to the revised plan the utility was already planning to implement such technology.

"The plan positions us for an improved environmental future by reducing not only haze forming emissions, but also carbon emissions, water usage and coal combustion byproducts," said Vincent-Collawn. "The revised plan also provides us with the opportunity to further diversify our generation portfolio, limiting our exposure to coal in the future, and it reduces the cost impact for our customers."

The plan includes a natural gas plant to be built in the Four Corners region to partially replace the capacity from retired coal. Detailed replacement power strategies will be finalized separately from the haze agreement.

The approval process is anticipated to be final by the end of October 2013.

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