BY MARTIN KRAL / ROSWELL RESIDENT
Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 at 12:02am
It is a new year, and the state of New Mexico needs to make some serious decisions about how it wants to proceed with consistent and workable energy policy. Oil and gas has provided the state with enormous amounts of surplus revenue, while Santa Fe is considering restrictions on new drilling with fracking sites. PNM has provided half the state with cheap electricity for decades and is planning to shut down the San Juan Generating Station with financial help through the Energy Transition Act.
It is my opinion the closure of SJGS will have the greatest immediate impact on our overall economy, especially to the city of Farmington and the surrounding communities. There will be hundreds of jobs lost from the power plant and adjacent coal mine closures, as well as many small businesses that depend on the revenue produced by the plant. There are two proposals on the table to determine the future of SJGS and the city of Farmington.
Option 1: Implement the ETA requirements and completely shut down SJGS and the adjacent coal mine within two years. This option will completely devastate the city of Farmington and surrounding communities. PNM and other owners will be provided financial incentives from the ETA, which is a bailout of their financial commitment to produce electricity from SJGS. This option will replace the lost electricity with wind-NG and solar-NG industrial farms at a cost of billions of dollars.
Option 2: Sell SJGS to Enchant Energy and the city of Farmington for $1 and keep the plant open with proven Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage technology installed to meet all the ETA emission requirements. This $1.3 billion capital investment will be monetized through sales of CO2 to the oil and gas industry to replace water fracking with more efficient CO2 fracking. The generating plant and mining operation stay open and continue to provide jobs with cleaner emissions.
Santa Fe has to decide which option is more reasonable. Shut down the San Juan Generating Station or sell it. I hate to see another New Mexico boondoggle.