New Mexico regulators are about to decide whether to force a utility to shut down the San Juan coal plant, one of the largest and most polluting in the United States, in a decision that “could reverberate through the entire coal industry and could also steer debate over renewables,” InsideClimate News reports.
The Public Service Company of New Mexico “wants to partially shutter the San Juan plant by December 2017, install millions of dollars’ worth of pollution controls on the two surviving units, and replace the other two with a 28-year-old nuclear plant, a new natural gas plant, and a sliver of solar,” ICN reports. “Opponents want PNM to retire all four San Juan units and replace the coal power with natural gas, wind, and solar. They say their solution would cost at least $60 million less than the company’s plan.”
“We realized early on that this is the most important case facing New Mexico,” said Mariel Nanasi, president of Santa Fe-based New Energy Economy. “It is going to lock in energy choices for the next 20 years.”
The decision “carries with it potentially precedent-setting and national implications for how to deal with current haze and future carbon regulations,” said Robb Hirsch, executive director of New Mexico Independent Power Producers.